DESPITE the heavy defeat at Featherstone and his own problems with hamstring trouble, centre Cam Leeming is upbeat and optimistic about how Oldham will fare in the Betfred Championship this season.
He would love to be available for selection for the first round Betfred Challenge Cup tie against Barrow Raiders at Bower Fold on Saturday week, March 20 (kick-off 12.45pm), but coach Matt Diskin is anxious not to bring him in too soon.
Hamstrings can be very problematical and Diskin believes he needs another two or three weeks of intense training with the squad in order to prove his fitness.
“We’ve got to do what’s best for both Cam and the team,”
said the Oldham boss as he prepared his squad for this Saturday’s warm-up clash with Halifax Panthers (4pm), which fans can watch live on OuRLeague, although the game will be played behind closed doors.
Perhaps a more realistic target for Cam to return would be the opening game in the Betfred Championship, which will be against Swinton Lions at home on Good Friday, April 2, three weeks away. In the meantime, he’ll be working his socks off in a bid to get back sooner than that.
“I had a little setback with it last week. I can’t wait to get back playing again, it’s been a long time between matches, but to be honest I’ve had a frustrating pre-season because of injuries. I’ve not yet been able to get myself going again.
“If I’m honest, I’d take getting back into training properly at this stage.
“Even though I knew I wouldn’t be playing at Featherstone, I got a real buzz in the days leading up to the game.
“Watching it, I felt there was a lot I could offer to help the team on the edges and that made me keen to play even more.
“Despite the final score, I liked the new boys we brought in and that made me quite optimistic. I thought the middles showed some good stuff and I was really impressed with James Barran, who showed plenty of nice touches.”
A personal trainer with his own business in Leeds, Leeming has been able to ‘play around’ with weights at home, but he described as a “challenge” the restrictions and protocol surrounding Covid training.
“I’ve just enjoyed seeing all the players and staff again after so long away. I’m fortunate that I’ve got some weights to have a play-around with at home but, with no gyms open, I know some lads have struggled regarding that side of the game. “
The 2021 Betfred Championship was officially launched on OuRLeague last night by Ralph Rimmer, Clare Balding, Danika Priim (Leeds Rhinos women) and Gareth Walker, the Daily Mirror’s rugby league man.
The general view was that 2021 would provide the strongest-ever Championship, boasting many former Super League stars, with Featherstone Rovers, Toulouse Olympique and London Broncos among the pace-setters.
Walker said it would be a hugely-competitive division of the highest quality and he expected at least eight teams to be chasing the top six play-off spots.
+ Oldham season-ticket holders have been provided with a free access code to watch this Saturday’s friendly with Halifax live on OuRLeague. Cost to other fans is £4.99 if purchased by Friday or £10 on the day of the game.
Any season-ticket holder who has not yet received the code needs to contact the club via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org