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Eyes Down for the Roden family and a big game to boot!

RIVAL coaches Matt Diskin and Gary Charlton won’t name their teams until an hour before kick-off but it’s odds-on that best mates and half-cousins Callum Green (Oldham) and Aiden Roden (Whitehaven) will be on opposite sides in an intriguing Betfred Championship clash at Bower Fold today (Sat), kick-off 12.45pm.

They’re both Wigan born and bred and both are products of the Super League club’s youth systems although Green (21) signed for Oldham from Warrington Wolves.

Aiden (20) is still at Wigan, but out on loan at Whitehaven, for whom he got the League Express man-of-the-match award in the Cumbrian side’s 30-22 defeat by Bradford Bulls last week.

They’re not only look-alikes, distantly related and best mates – they both have close family members who have played huge roles for Roughyeds in years gone by.

Full-back Green is a nephew of Roughyeds' legend Neil Roden, who scored 113 tries in 295 games in his two spells at the club between  1999 and 2013. Only seven players in history have scored more Oldham tries than Callum’s uncle.

Aiden’s step-father is former Roughyeds hooker Martin Roden, who played 77 games for the club between 2009 and 2012 and then became assistant coach and caretaker coach following the departure in 2012 of Kiwi boss Tony Benson.

All eyes will be on representatives of the extended Roden family – Oldham’s Green and Whitehaven’s Roden – but it won’t be the first time they’ve played on opposite sides and then gone out for the evening together in Wigan.

Neil’s dad Jack, Callum’s grandad, recalls the day Callum played for Warrington under-19s and Aiden for Wigan under-19s.

Jack, who was there as a Wigan Warriors scout, said:

“Callum had been at Wigan previously so it was a big game for him and he scored in the corner.

“Aiden also had a big game for Wigan, but it was strange seeing them on opposite sides.

“I can’t wait to watch the Oldham-Whitehaven game on Our League because, by all accounts, they’re both playing well. They are both very good players.

“Before going to Wigan, where they went through the system together, their paths didn’t cross much on the rugby field because Callum was at St Pat’s and then at St Jude’s and Aiden was at Hindley.

“In fact, Aiden was a very good footballer at primary school and he didn’t start playing rugby until he was a bit older. He’s certainly making up for it now, though. He looks a natural at hooker, like his dad.

“Callum and Aiden are the best of pals. When they were younger, and at Wigan together, they would spend hours training together at Martin’s gym. He’s a personal trainer with his own gym and he used to let them in for free. They made the best of it !

" I’m thrilled to see them both doing so well. Callum hasn’t had a lot of experience at full-back, but I think it’s his best position.”

Oldham are defending an unbeaten home record this season, but coach Diskin knows that the Cumbrians will come down the M6 breathing fire and brimstone and will be determined to pick up their second win of the season, having already knocked over Newcastle Thunder 29-20.

They’ve a few injuries, but look out for on-loan Roden and new signings, centre Sean Croston, on-loan prop Ronan Michael from Huddersfield, full-back Lachlan Walmsley, an Aussie, and Kiwi scrum-half Nikau Williams, who has lived in Melbourne since he was 12.

It promises to be a cracker. And you can watch all the action on Our League for £4.95 if you book and pay before midnight. Leave it until tomorrow and it will cost you £10, so don’t delay. do it NOW.

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