It's time for Roughyeds fans to get excited - new-boy Reilly

Date published: 07 December 2020

Martyn Reilly, one of 12 of Oldham Rugby League Club's new signings for 2021, has told Roughyeds' fans: "Look forward to next year. You've a lot to get excited about !".

The rugged prop joins Oldham from fellow Betfred Championship side Dewsbury Rams with his Rams team mates Luke Nelmes (also a prop) and winger Tommy Brierley.

An essential for any successful rugby league team is a big, strong, mobile set of forwards, and head coach Matt Diskin has put his cards on the table by bringing in experienced pack men like Reilly, Nelmes, Liam Kirk from Bradford Bulls and Shaun Pick from Batley Bulldogs.

Add those four to established Roughyeds favourites like Phil Joy, Danny Langtree and Jack Spencer and you've got the nucleus of a pack with size, strength, know-how, strike-power and mongrel.

Youthful newcomer Tyler Dupree, from Leeds Rhinos, and three more forwards who need no introduction to local fans - tackling-machine Liam Bent, former York captain Ed Smith and youngster Matty Fletcher - will also fancy their chances of getting into the regular 17 at prop, second-row or loose-forward, leaving club captain and former Super League player Gareth Owen and speedy Matty Wilkinson to share hooking duties.

With a large squad of 27 - designed to cope with the abolition of dual registrations and new loan-deal rules that will discourage the temporary movement of players between clubs - Diskin will have options throughout the side.

He will also have seven new backs pushing for starting places, headed by the vastly-experienced Ben Heaton and Ryan Ince.

Rochdale-based Heaton, equally at home at full-back or in the centre, began his career at Oldham before enjoying seven seasons at Halifax and then coming 'home' after a short spell with Hunslet.

Ince, a pacy winger, started with home-town Widnes Vikings and then transferred to Leigh Centurions before throwing in his lot with Diskin's new boys.

With fresh hopes of a vaccine defeating Covid and prospects of a return to sporting normality by next Easter, Reilly has taken to social media and to the Roughyeds website to give this upbeat message to his newly-adopted fan base:

He stated: "This is a quick message to say how much I'm looking forward to starting pre-season training as an Oldham player.

"We've been away from the game for a long time in this madness of a year and I can't wait to get back.

"Disco (coach Diskin) and Chris (chairman Hamilton) have made the best of a bad situation and have built a very strong side for 2021.

"As a player, I'm really looking forward to being part of it.

"You guys (Oldham fans) have a lot to be excited about.

"As I say, Disco and Chris have made some good signings and have also kept hold of a lot of good players from last year. 

"I'm looking forward to meeting you all - hopefully at the first game if restrictions are lifted - and getting to know you. Here's to a good 2021."

Dupree, also talking to Roughyeds fans on the club's social media sites, expressed similar upbeat thoughts about his move to Oldham, and added: "I can't wait to get my first training session as an Oldham player under my belt. Hopefully, we'll see you at the first game.

"Stay safe - and stay well."

Oldham, who will be under the command of Diskin and his two assistants, fellow Yorkshiremen Brendan Sheridan and Jode Sheriffe, struggled early this year before Covid caused the 2020 Championship campaign to be written off.

The boss, however, is much happier now than he was when he took charge of newly-promoted Oldham for the first time in February.

He said: "I'm much more confident now than I was back then. The squad's looking good."

Reilly and Dupree are joined by fellow new-boys Nelmes, Kirk and Pick (all forwards) and backs Brierley, Ben Holcroft, Ince, Heaton, Max Roberts, Callum Green and James Barran, a local lad who lives in Lees and was a Wigan Warriors product, like Holcroft, Roberts and initially Green, although Green was latterly with Warrington Wolves.

They join 15 players who were at Oldham this year, namely Spencer,  Joy, Sheriffe (assistant player-coach), Wilkinson, Owen, Langtree, Fletcher, Smith, Bent (all forwards) and Dan Abram, Kyle Johnson, Cameron Leeming, John Hutchings, Lewis Charnock and Dave Hewitt (all backs).

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