Nanyn has balanced views on expansion

Reporter: Matthew Chambers
Date published: 23 July 2008

ROUGHYEDS' record breaking centre Mick Nanyn is hopeful that the National Leagues will soon have representation north of the border.

Following a meeting of all the professional clubs below Super League level last week, the sport's governing body put forward a number of proposals to take the game forward in the new era of licensing.

The RFL are clearly more willing than ever to expand the sport into new territories.

Celtic Crusaders were yesterday handed a Super League license for the next three years, while 2009's 'Magic Weekend' takes place in Edinburgh.

And for Nanyn, a Scotland international who is likely to be involved with his country in the World Cup in Australia the end of the season, the moving of the Super League showpiece could have a big impact in terms of bringing the sport on in a major new territory.

"Having the Magic Weekend in Edinburgh is a massive boost for the game up there," said the 26-year-old.

"The RFL know what they are doing and I think it is a smart move.

"A lot of interest was drummed up by holding the same weekend in Wales and now that the country has a team in Super League with Celtic Crusaders, it doesn't need to be there any more.

"Hopefully the event will generate a lot of interest in Scotland and maybe teams like Edinburgh Eagles or Glasgow Hawks can then think about having teams in the National Leagues, and eventually Super League, to expand the game once again."

On the issue of Celtic's admission to Super League at the expense of his former club Widnes, Nanyn, who joined Oldham after the Vikings slipped into administration, admitted he had mixed feelings.

"It is a shame for a massive club like Widnes, who have had a major part to play in the history of the game, but the RFL have made their decision," he said.

"The administration the club went through perhaps came as a result of the people who ran the club not being as business-minded as they are at the moment.

"Having seen (new owner) Steve O'Connor on television he speaks really well and perhaps he just came in a little bit too late.

"To expand the game, Wales needs a side in Super League. The Welsh international side has been pretty strong over recent years and it can only help the strength of the international side by having Celtic up there.

"No team will fancy going down to Wales and it will be a tough place to get a result from.

"The other side of the coin, though, is that you are missing out on clubs with massive histories.

"It is six of one and half a dozen of the other, really."

Nanyn kept up a record of breaking club point-scoring records last Thursday, kicking six goals in Oldham's 36-16 home win over Doncaster.

But the former Widnes, Whitehaven, Rochdale and Swinton man admitted that the new Oldham club’s post-1997 mark of 320 points in a season, set by Pat Rich in 2001, is one he always expected to overcome.

Now Nanyn, who has 322 points to his name this season, is setting his sights on the Oldham RLFC all-time high mark, set by Bernard Ganley who racked up 412 points in the 1957-58 season.

And he also explained the psychology of his considered, accurate kicking at goal, which he believes can have a decisive impact in games.

"I always thought that if I was going to target a record, it would be the overall club one," Nanyn added.

"To be fair I always had the feeling that, barring injuries, I would get over 300 so I don't see that as a major challenge.

"Now I will set my sights on the big one and see what happens over the next few weeks.

"Kicking is important. At times, when you are standing under the posts after conceding a try and you see someone knock one over from the touchline, it can take the edge off you.

"Particularly if the gap moves from six points to eight, meaning you then need two scores. It does sting.

"When it comes to penalties, a good kicker who is reliable can make all the difference in close games."

Nanyn is still the highest points scorer in the country, his 322 tally keeping him comfortably ahead of nearest challengers Graham Holroyd of Halifax (278) and Wigan’s Pat Richards (275).