NINE bright prospects have been handed a chance to train with Sean Long’s Oldham side for the remainder of the 2024 season, in a move to try to keep hold of the town’s emerging talents.

The town of Oldham is well-known for being a rugby league hotbed, having produced stars such as Kevin Sinfield, Barrie McDermott, and Roughyeds’ very own Jordan Turner, as well as more recent talents like Olly Russell and Josh Thewlis, to name a few.

And one of the key aims of managing director Mike Ford is to keep Oldham’s players in the town and for them to resist the temptation from Super League giants such as Wigan, Warrington and St Helens.

“These are talented lads who want to play for Oldham, so I didn’t want to not give them that opportunity,” said Ford. “I want to keep the player in Oldham, it’s what we’re all about. I have been to meet them all and all I wanted to know was if they were committed. And they are.

“It’s a massively positive story for us as we look to keep our talent in Oldham. Who knows, we could sign one or two on for next season”

The under-18 players include six from Waterhead who will train with the Oldham first team every Tuesday night at the club’s Melrose training base for the rest of the year.

The nine are: Marcus Geener (Waterhead), Harry Barker (Waterhead), Adam Robinson (Waterhead), Reece Smethurst (Waterhead), Cameron Robinson (Waterhead), Riley Lassen (Limehurst), Elliot Mills (Saddleworth), Noah Lawton (Rochdale Mayfield), Harrison Dodd (Waterhead).

This comes after the news Roughyeds are planning to run an under-18s side, as well as exploring the possibility of running a reserve-grade team in 2025, which Ford confirmed at a recent Q&A session.

Roughyeds are holding their latest community event tonight, with fans invited to watch Sean Long’s side in an open training session with Waterhead ARLFC at Waterhead Rugby Club.

The event will run from 6-8pm, which will be followed by a fans’ forum from 8.15-9:15pm, with the club promising no question is off the table.