Diskin announces his squad numbers

Date published: 01 March 2021

Oldham RL fans won't be surprised to see Cam Leeming at 4 (left centre) and new-boy Ryan Ince at 5 (left wing) in the list of 2021 squad numbers released by head coach Matt Diskin.

There might be raised eyebrows though when the boss reveals there will be times in the coming season when Leeming and Ince are involved in role reversal - a tactical move currently lodged up Diskin's sleeve.

He said: "Their squad numbers don't necessarily mean Ryan will always be on the wing, with Cam on his inside.

"I'll be swopping them around on occasions.

"Ryan has been doing a lot of his pre-season stuff in the centre and Cam has caught the eye with his ability to return the ball strongly out of defence to put his side back on the front foot."

Diskin has named seven of his 14 new signings in his first 17, but he says fans should not read too much into the numbers game.

He added: "On the one hand they are important to the players; on the other, fans might easily read too much into them.

"No player can feel secure on his number alone."

They are:

1, Dan Abram; 2, Tommy Brierley; 3, Ben Heaton; 4, Cam Leeming; 5, Ryan Ince; 6, Lewis Charnock, 7, Dave Hewitt; 8, Phil Joy; 9, Gareth Owen; 10, Jack Spencer; 11, Danny Langtree; 12, Liam Bent; 13, Martyn Reilly; 14, Matty Wilkinson, 15, Luke Nelmes; 16, Tyler Dupree; 17, Liam Kirk.

18, The Fans; 19, Matthew Fletcher; 20, Jode Sheriffe; 21, Shaun Pick; 22, Kyran Johnson; 23, Callum Green; 24, Max Roberts; 25, Danny Bridge; 26, James Barran; 27, Ben Holcroft; 28, Joe Hartley; 29, Blank; 30, Dec Gregory; 31, John Hutchings.

Taking numbers at face value, Diskin has included new signings Brierley, Heaton and Ince in the backs; Reilly at loose-forward; Nelmes, Dupree and Kirk on the bench.

But the theme that runs constantly through his assessment is that every player is starting on a blank sheet of paper.

"We have a competitive squad, so every player will be challenging for his spot every week," added Diskin.

"We wanted some consistency in the numbering, too, so that was another factor in it, as was a request from some players to keep the same number they had last season."

Among those numbered the same are Abram (1), Leeming (4), Charnock (6), Hewitt (7), Joy (8), Owen (9), Spencer (10) and Langtree (11).

Liam Bent, the club's tackling machine, goes from 13 to 12 with more than a hint from the boss that this year Bent will be pushing for any one of the pack's back-three spots.

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