IT HAS been a remarkable rise for George Hirst who has gone from a Yorkshire Mens League amateur to one of the brightest sparks in Sean Long’s Oldham side, writes Kasey Smith.

He played a crucial role in Oldham’s 30-6 victory over Hunslet over the weekend, contributing to three tries.

His kick-chases were instrumental in securing Oldham’s second and third tries, and a brilliant offload set up Cian Tyrer’s second try.

But it has not always been plain-sailing for Batley-born bulldozer – despite an impressive debut season with Oldham, he has had to fight for his spot once again in 2024.

With the influx of stars such as Joe Wardle, Jordan Turner and Elijah Taylor, Hirst was not named on the teamsheet in any of Roughyeds’ first five games in the cup competitions.

“I’ve taken it as a challenge to improve myself,” said the 6ft 4in forward.

“Having the high profile players come in has helped push a lot of us – they constantly speak to you and give you pointers to improve.”

Before signing for Oldham, he gained experience at local amateur clubs Dewsbury Moor and Dewsbury Celtic – but in one of his first outings, a friendly against Wigan Warriors Reserves, it was clear to see he had potential.

“I feel like I’m slowly proving myself,” he said. “I’ve loved my time so far at the club, to be honest, and Sean (Long) and Shez (Brendan Sheridan) have been a massive help.

Since breaking into the first team back in March, he has played in every game bar one and more recently has cemented a starting spot, rather than coming off the bench.

Hirst has become a firm fan favourite with his eye-catching strong ball carries and hard-working playing style, something which he has thrived off.

“It’s a similar situation to last year, at the start of the year I wasn’t really getting in but I kept working hard, kept asking questions and went from there.

“Sean’s class, every week and every session he speaks to me. He gives me tips on how I should be playing and he’s been great to be honest.

“I’m loving it so far, and the fans really help, having them here every single game.

“You don’t get fans like that at any other club, even going to away games they are constantly backing us and it really does feel like playing at home wherever we go.”