THE NEW Oldham College Rugby League Academy will be looking to the Saddleworth area to help provide a new crop of future stars.
“Saddleworth has always been a hotbed with Rangers and Waterhead both at the forefront,” explained Moorside-based Steve Molloy who had been the driving force behind the initiative.
Steve, who had previously been employed by the Rugby Football League, explained: “I did coaching at Hopwood Hall where I was staggered to find that 60-per-cent of the students at their RL Academy are from Oldham.
“I don’t think it is right that they have to go out of town because, until now, there no provision at Oldham College.”
Steve believes there has been a worrying decline in RL in Oldham which in the recent past has produced such legend such as Kevin Sinfield, Paul Sculthorpe, Iestyn Harris and Barrie McDermott.
“There are no longer Service Area games for players to appear in so that next step of their development has disappeared,” he said.
There is nobody better qualified than Steve to drive forward the new Academy as he captained England and also played for Great Britain as well as for Leeds, Featherstone Rovers and Sheffield Eagles.
“It is going to take time as we are starting from scratch, but my aim is eventually be the top RL college in the North West,” explained Steve who says he has a strong working knowledge of the community game in Oldham.
Though the students will train three times a week under Steve’s watchful eye and play games, there will also be an emphasis on studying for the Level Three Extended Diploma which is the equivalent to three ‘A’ Levels.
Steve brought in Leeds Rhinos and England captain Kevin Sinfield to help launch the new Academy as he put on a coaching session for the students.