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Roughyeds swoop for Baker

FIRST it was Lewis Sheridan . . . now it’s his former Rochdale teammate and ex-Mayfield player Zac Baker. Both will be Oldham players next season, versatile Zac having completed a one-year agreement to follow his pal to the home of their former club’s derby rivals.

Four years younger than Sheridan at 24, Baker is a Rochdale boy who says loose-forward is his preferred position though he is equally comfortable in the second-row or even at prop in an emergency.

“I like to think I can play anywhere, but wherever I’m playing I like to be in the thick of the action,”

said Baker, who in August this year picked up a five-match ban after being found guilty of a grade D dangerous throw while playing for Hornets against Swinton.

His suspension ruled him out of the play-off games against Roughyeds and North Wales Crusaders, but he was back, on the bench, for the play-off semi-final at Doncaster, which The Dons won.

“I’m fully clear now and raring to go,” said Baker, who revealed that he was mainly “sold” on his move just down the road to Oldham by the talk he had with Chris and Stu (chairman and head coach); their plans for tackling the challenges ahead; and their vision for the future.

He acknowledged, though, that it would also be good to be at the same club as his pal Sheridan, whose career path has taken a very similar route to that of his own.

Both are products of Mayfield and the coaching of Matt Calland; both have played at Rochdale for their home-town pro club; both have had connections with scholarship and academy teams at Super League clubs (Sheridan at St Helens, Baker at Salford and Bradford).

The one big difference was that, in 2019, Baker took off for Australia with the express intention of playing for Mullumbimby Giants in the Northern Rivers Regional League, the very club that was used to develop Matty Ashton, another Mayfield boy now making a name for himself at Warrington Wolves.

Said Zac:

“I loved it there and I was there for about 11 months. I only came home because of Covid, but I’m home for good now and I’m really looking forward to this new venture at Oldham.”

Stu Littler said:

“I’m delighted to get Zac’s signing over the lie, He’s proved himself at Championship level, never mind League One. He’s a good pro and he’s won a few rep honours.

“We’ll have to manage his natural aggression, but he ticks all the right boxes and we wish him well at Oldham.”

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