Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Good Friday's Coming - Oldham

Friday sees Oldham Giants visit Spotland. See what we did there? Hilarious isn't it - they'll be peeing themselves in Glodwick...

After three years of whining about how Dual Registration was the evil force that would destroy the game, and that Hornets must surely be St Helens in disguise, Oldham have got with the program and pledged their troth to Huddersfield Giants in a shiny new Dual Reg. agreement. Yes, we know that Oldham had a brief flirtation with Salford where both parties tried to pretend that there was nothing going on, but this looks like a full on humpfest.  
Artist's impression of how the Oldham shirt probably
doesn't look - for illustrative purposes only...

Last month, Paul Anderson said: "Scott Naylor is doing us a favour in playing people who, if everything goes to plan, he's not going to get all year. He's done us a favour and (our players have) all played big minutes in the games. It's probably Ollie Roberts, Mick Learmonth, Nathan Mason and people like that who he will be getting over the year but he's done us a favour by playing senior players two games straight and giving them good game time. He knows they are good players as well and the challenge for our boys is when they go there they have to buy into the Oldham culture and where Scott wants them to play.” So could we expect Danny Brough or Big Eorl to show up in an Oldham shirt this season? Anderson's comments suggest that that could be eminently possible. 

Back in December Scott Naylor said in the Oldham Chronic: "I firmly believe that dual-reg players from St Helens and Leeds Rhinos respectively made the big difference when Rochdale and then Hunslet beat us in the play-off finals of 2013 and 2014…"

On the new DR deal he said: “(The) Giants have a lot of quality running right through their club and looking at the calibre of the players who could be heading our way, the dual-registration system should work really well for us." Indeed, Naylor has embraced Dual Reg. will all the zeal of a convert, having used eight DR players already this year - including England Knights wing Jodie Broughton who scored twice in the Roughyeds 32-10 iPro Cup win at Barrow. Clearly hardcore Oldham fans who believe in the Corinthian spirit of reperesenting just one club in perpetuity will refuse to attend games - or at the very least refuse to applaud when he scores.

Oldham seem to have hit the gound running in 2015. An impressive pre-season (including a narrow defeat at Leigh), a (too) late comeback against Sheffield in the Challenge Cup, and a weather-deferred iPro Cup semi against 'Big Spending North Wales Crusaders™' in the offing, Scott Naylor will be looking for a big start in this 'New Era' for League 1 (though some might suggest that a focus on a big finish might be more appropriate).

Conversely, Hornets have underwhelmed a bit thus far. Damp squib performances at Crusaders and Swinton see us dumped out of both cup competitions. And if such an occurence allows teams to 'focus on the league', let's seize that opportunity to its fullest extent - starting with the 'A627M El Classico™' on Good Friday. History of clashes with our nearest neighbours proves two points: form counts for nowt and it'll be tasty. There's not a better way to start the season proper, than with a game that means everything to everyone involved. At this level, it's as big as games get - so let's 'ave it. See you there.

We have the Oldham 2015 squad as:

1 Steven Nield
2 Adam Clay
3 Tom Dempsey
4 Jack Holmes
5 Jarrod Ward
6 Lewis Palfrey (C)
7 Steve Roper
8 Phil Joy
9 Sam Gee (VC)
10 Adam Neal
11 Josh Crowley
12 Danny Langtree
13 Liam Thompson
14 Adam Files
15 Gareth Owen
16 Kenny Hughes
17 George Tyson
18 Richard Joy
19 Michael Ward
20 Jake Hughes
22 Mick Learmonth (DR)
23 Jon Ford
24 Nathan Mason (DR)
25 Tom Ashton
26 Josh Johnson (DR)