Oldham RLFC continue to strengthen their squad

Reporter: Roger Halstead
Date published: 28 October 2020

Oldham RLFC has further strengthened its pack for 2021 with the capture of Bradford's 23-year-old forward Liam Kirk.

He is the Roughyeds' ninth NEW player, five of whom are big forwards -- Luke Nelmes, Martyn Reilly, Tyler Dupree, Shaun Pick and Kirk, who stands 6ft 4in and weighs 16 and a half stones.

Leeds-born Kirk, who has been at the Bulls since he was 16, has signed a one-year deal at Oldham and says he is out "to achieve something".

He has worked previously under Matt Diskin at academy level at Odsal and he believes in Diskin's ability to establish Oldham in the Championship.

After 82 senior games at Odsal, Kirk said: "I've been at Bradford for a few years and I'm looking for a new challenge. I want something different. At the same time, I'm only 23 and I've got years in the game ahead of me so I'm looking to achieve something as well."

Head coach Diskin said he had admired Kirk since he first arrived at Odsal as a teenager.

He added: "He was in my academy team for a few years and he's a terrific forward. Until you work with him you don't appreciate his quality. He's an experienced, talented forward whom I've tried to sign him previously. 

"I'm delighted to get him on board. He'll slot comfortably into our squad and do exceptionally well."

Kirk signed for the Bulls as a scholar before working his way through the youth development systems to hit the first team in 2016.

He won an under-19s player-of-the-year award (under Diskin) at the age of 17 and the following year he carried off a monthly award as the squad's outstanding player during March, 2015.

John Bastian, then Bradford's head of youth, said at the time: "Liam isn't just a good player; he's a quality individual. You can rely on him to set a good example in training as well as on the pitch."

All but six of his 82 first-team games for the Bulls were played in the Championship season of 2017, the League One campaign of 2018 and the Championship year of 2019 when he figured in 31, 22 and 23 games respectively.

He has played five times against Oldham and has enjoyed four wins, the exception being at Bower Fold in 2017 when Roughyeds won a Championship battle 26-22 thanks to an exhilarating try by centre Kieran Gill near the end.