OLDHAM’S much-lauded and new-look squad, containing 20 new boys in a group of 28, has completed its first week of pre-season training despite difficulties caused by the exceptionally wet weather,
The new squad opened up at Melrose, but the Chadderton venue was sloppy after all the rain we’ve had in recent days so the decision was taken to find another venue and the nearby HurtLocker gym, just a short walk from Melrose and situated in a nearby mill, came to the rescue,
“They allowed us to work as a group and we are very grateful,”,
said managing director Mike Ford, who said he was looking for a facility with astro-turf to use for a short while to give Melrose time to recover.
“Everything is going well. We have big, exciting plans for Melrose, as stated previously. The floodlights are up, our training kit is sponsored, and Sean Long is very happy at what’s happening as we prepare for our first pre-season game at Keighley Cougars (1pm kick-off) on Boxing Day,”
writes ROGER HALSTEAD.
Of the 28 players making up the big squad — a nice blend of youth and top-end experience — only eight were here last season and four of those came in during the year.
The 20 new boys include Logan Astley and Kieran Tyrer, who have played for us on loan or dual-reg from Wigan Warriors, but they are now fully-fledged Oldham players.
The squad, as it stands, comprises 14 forwards and 14 backs, including young full-back or wing Cian Tyrer (22), Kieran Tyrer’s cousin, who has chosen to back himself here and win a contract while on trial.
Kieran is our former player Sean’s son, while Cian is his nephew. Both Tyrer lads are grandsons of Colin Tyrer, the former Leigh and Wigan full-back, who was known as an ace goalkicker way back when Martin Murphy had just signed for Oldham nearly 60 years ago.
BACKS: Mo Agoro, Logan Astley, Danny Craven, Jamie Ellis, Jack Johnson, Kian Morgan, Ben O’Keefe, Jordan Paga, Nick Rawsthorne, Jumah Sambou, Jordan Turner, Mackenzie Turner, Cian Tyrer, Kieran Tyrer.
FORWARDS: Bailey Aldridge, Jay Chapelhow, Ted Chapelhow, Owen Farnworth, Brad Gallagher, George Hirst, Josh Johnson, Craig Kopczak, Adam Lawton, Pat Moran, Elijah Taylor, Joe Wardle, Emmerson Whittel, Matty Wildie.
Several of these players, of course, notably Morgan, Paga, Jordan Turner, Hirst, Moran, Taylor and Wardle could play anywhere if push came to shove so that gives Long even more options, to say nothing of the ongoing dual-reg arrangement with Wigan.
There’s more than 500 Super League appearances there among the forwards alone, while Elijah Taylor has played numerous Tests for New Zealand and has racked up loads of NRL games, having been with NZ.
As Ford has already pointed out, it’s down to Long to get all this talent and all this experience to gel as a team. We’ll know more after the first run-out at Keighley where the gate will be shared 50-50 and where Cougars have increased prices by £3 to combat inflation, higher utility bills and the cost of putting a competitive team on the meadow,
Said chief executive Ryan O’ Neill:
“After much deliberation and financial forecasting we need to increase our ticket prices by £3. We need to be financially stable and plan for what lies ahead in the IMG era of Rugby League. We need to be back in the Championship system and to be able to look ahead with confidence to 2025 whatever the league structure looks like by then.”
Prices on Boxing Day are £18 adults, £15 concessions (65+), under-16s FREE at the turnstiles with proof of age.
Oldham’s match-day and season ticket prices will be out soon.