Roughyeds hand chance to local stars of the future

Date published: 03 July 2024

Nine local teenage prospects have been given the chance to train with the Roughyeds’ rugby league first team until the end of the season, as the club underlines its commitment to keeping the best emerging talent in Oldham.

The under-18 players include six from Waterhead and will all benefit from being part of head coach Sean Long’s squad with whom they will train every Tuesday night for the rest of the campaign.

Oldham managing director Mike Ford praised the move as a statement of intent to retain the best of the region’s young rugby league talent who may otherwise be tempted to move elsewhere, labelling it a “massively positive story” for the club and for community clubs throughout Oldham.

“These are talented lads who want to play for Oldham, so I didn’t want to not give them that opportunity,” said Ford.

“I have been to meet them all and all I wanted to know was if they were committed.

"And they are, every Tuesday until the end of the season.

"It’s a massively positive story for us as we look to keep our talent in Oldham.

"Who knows, we could sign one or two on for next season.”

Long put the youngsters through their paces in an intense training session at Melrose on Tuesday night and told Roughyeds TV that he is delighted to see exciting local talent committing to the club.

“In the past we have not been able to keep our players and there are some legendary players who have come through Oldham’s system," said Long.

"We want to tap into that and have identified some good, young talent who have showed me they can slot in and not miss a beat.

“I want these lads on board and even if only three or four make it with us then that is a coup.

"They want to play for Oldham, play for the badge, play for their hometown club.”

Sam Littler and Marcus Geener are two youngsters who have been training with Oldham all season, with Geener now joining eight others in committing for the rest of this year.

The players are:

Marcus Geener (Waterhead)

Harry Barker (Waterhead)

Adam Robinson (Waterhead)

Reece Smethurst (Waterhead)

Cameron Robinson (Waterhead)

Riley Lassen (Limehurst)

Elliot Mills (Saddleworth)

Noah Lawton (Mayfield)

Harrison Dodd (Waterhead)

Ford added: “I just thought that if their clubs are happy then why not get them along to train with us on a Tuesday and develop them.

"They will get strength and conditioning and a nutrition programme for the off-season.

“Our commercial manager Kieran O’Reilly talks about wanting to keep the pound in Oldham.

"Well I want to keep the player in Oldham, and that is what we are all about.”

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