GARETH Owen, our team and club captain for the past five years, has announced that he will retire at the end of the season.
A local lad who started in rugby league as a boy at Waterhead, he has currently made 153 appearances for his home-town pro club and more than 200 career outings all told, having also turned out for Salford and, briefly, for Sheffield.
He will hang up his boots, aged 29, with the legacy of 38 Super League games with Salford on his CV and the captaincy of Roughyeds, the team he supported as a boy, since 2017.
He succeeded Lewis Palfrey as captain at the start of the 2017 Championship campaign and has played for the club for seven-and-a-half seasons — four in tier two (if you count the curtailed 2020 season) and three-and-a-half in tier three.
“I just feel the time is right for me to call it a day,” said Gareth, who lives in Moorside.
“I’ve achieved a lot in the game, like playing in Super League for all those games, and captaining Oldham, my home-town team and the one I’ve supported ever since I used to go as a little lad with my mum and dad.
“That was the biggest honour I could possibly have achieved and I can’t thank the club enough for giving me that opportunity.
“I’ve enjoyed my years with the Roughyeds and I’ve enjoyed every minute of being club captain.
“After 153 games, I can leave with my head held high. I actually made this decision privately a few weeks ago. The season hasn’t gone to plan and I wanted to go out at the end of a good year, but I’m happy with the decision I’ve made because I’m sure it’s the right time.
“I could perhaps have done another couple of seasons, and I know 29 isn’t all that old, but my body tells me it’s time to go because I’m picking up loads of injuries now and it’s taking me a lot longer to recover than it used to do.
“It wasn’t an easy decision because I’ve loved playing for Oldham and I’ll never forget those fantastic fans. It will be a huge wrench because I’ve been at the club since the summer of 2014 and that’s a long time.
“As I said earlier, I owe the club and the fans a huge thank-you. The memories will never leave me.”