OLDHAM have re-signed long-term injury victim Craig Briscoe in the knowledge that he won’t play again until he has fully recovered from a surgical reconstruction of his right knee.
It’s a show of faith in the desperately unlucky 23-year-old former Leigh and Barrow back-row forward, whose first season with the Roughyeds was restricted to four starts and another three appearances off the bench.
Coach Scott Naylor has since revealed that Briscoe shouldn’t have played in those games after initially smashing his knee in his first few minutes in an Oldham jersey during a pre-season run-out at Barrow last January.
Said the Oldham boss: “From outside the club, he didn’t get the best medical advice, as a result of which he tried to play while carrying a serious injury.
“His first season with us wasn’t what either he or we wanted, but Craig is determined to get himself out on the pitch again and to show people what he is made of. He’s a young player with years ahead of him.
“We’ve all had long-term injuries and come back not only stronger physically but stronger mentally and stronger as people.
“Knowing Craig as well as I do, I’ve absolutely no doubt that will be the case with him.”
He has signed a new one-year deal although he won’t play again until next summer at the soonest.
His ill-fated 2016 campaign ended at Bower Fold on August 7 when Roughyeds opened their Championship Shield campaign with a 30-16 win against Workington Town.
Recalled Briscoe: “I was a substitute and I had only been on the field for a minute or so when the knee collapsed again in a tackle. It was my first carry of the game. I immediately feared the worst.
“In the days and weeks that followed I let the club know I really wanted to stay because I had enjoyed my first year so much despite getting injured in a pre-season warm-up on the ground of a club I had just left.
“Oldham are standing by me and putting a lot of trust in me and the one thing I want most from all this is to repay that trust with a lot of interest.
“Knee reconstructions these days are part and parcel of contact sport, and not as serious as they were years ago, but I’m told I’ll be out for seven months at least after the operation.”
Briscoe takes to 19 the number of players now contracted to the Roughyeds for their second season of KP Championship rugby at Bower Fold, Stalybridge.
They include three new signings in prop Ben Davies from Whitehaven, half-back Scott Leatherbarrow from London Broncos and centre or second-row Nathan Chappell from Sheffield Eagles plus half-back David Hewitt, who is now Oldham’s player after two spells with Naylor’s men on loan.