Oldham RLFC

The Roughyeds


An overview of the 2023 squad so far

AS the December 31 season-ticket deadline draws ever closer, it is interesting to take a look at what the club has done so far in its firm bid to provide a 2023 squad with a realistic and reasonable chance of achieving promotion to the Betfred Championship and in the belief that supporters can look forward to a successful season of crowd-pleasing, value-for-money entertainment.

The loss of West Wales Raiders was a blow where it hurts — no doubt about that — but in the last 25 years Oldham RLFC has built a reputation for rolling up its sleeves, shrugging off any negativity thrown at it, and emerging stronger for the experience.

The squad so far numbers 26, comprising 12 backs and 14 forwards. Average age of the forwards is between 25 and 26 and average age of the five players signed as props, Luke Nelmes (29), Dom Newton (29), Jack Blagbrough (28), Deane Meadows (28) and Joe Taira (33) is a fraction more than 29.

Our latest signing, tough, uncompromising Fijian prop Taira played in 24 games for Rochdale last season – and few Hornets players could match that. He was in Fiji’s World Cup squad and went on as a second-half replacement in Fiji’s World Cup warm-up game against England at the A J Bell Stadium.

He is the fourth member of last year’s Rochdale squad to join us and it is interesting to know they recorded 77 appearances between them with Taira on 24, Greg McNally on 21, Lewis Sheridan on 19 and Zac Baker on 13.

Full-back McNally might be 31 now, but he was still joint fifth in the list of League One try scorers with 19. Half-back Sheridan was also in the league list with 17 – that’s 36 between them.

In the list of goals scored Sheridan was sixth with 60 – 18 fewer than Martyn Ridyard’s 78. ‘Riddy’, our club captain and one of the best, most accurate and most reliable goalkickers in the game, will continue to kick our goals in 2023, but it’s good to know that in Sheridan we have another sound goalkicker in case a No 2 is ever needed.

Sheridan and Ridyard were also in the list of points scorers, Sheridan recording 188 with 17 tries and 60 goals and Ridyard weighing in with 161 from one try, 78 goals and one drop goal.

The hope is that our half-backs in 2023 will score a heap of points between them to help us on our way.

By way of comparison our ‘Ins’ and ’ Outs’ are as follows:

OUT: Jordan Andrade, Jack Arnold, Will Cooke, Jack Coventry, Dave Hewitt, Ben Holcroft, Brad Jinks, Jason Muranka, Owen Restall, Tom Spencer (retired), Ryan Wright.

IN: Greg McNally, Patrick Ah Van, Jenson Hamilton (amateur forms), Ellis Keppel, George Hirst, Jordan Paga, Lewis Sheridan, Jack Blagbrough, Joe Taira, Matty Wilkinson, Deane Meadows, Sam Bardsley, Zac Baker.

Players who were here last season and have signed new deals to stay are backs Kian Morgan, Tommy Brierley, Joe Hartley, Calvin Wellington and club captain Martyn Ridyard and forwards Luke Nelmes, Dom Newton, Sean Slater, Billy Yarrow, Callum Cameron, James Thornton, Ethan Ferry and Emmerson Whittel.

Of the 26 players signed on, only player-of-the-year Emmerson Whittel has a two-year deal.

In addition, we have re-signed assistant coach Brendan Sheridan and brought in strength and conditioner Daniel Bedford and experienced physio Lee Cholmondeley.

Said head coach Stu Littler, who is starting the second of his two contracted years:

”We’re trying to build the club on and off the pitch. I’d like to think the quality of the squad has gone up a notch.

“We’re going on a journey and it’s going to be a special one. We have a family ethos here and our fans are very much part of that family.

“We are trying to create something special but we do need our fans to get behind us."

To buy a season ticket before the December 31 deadline go to our ticketing page.


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