OLDHAM have lost the services of Liam Thompson, after making 105 senior appearances in his five seasons at the club he has now decided to start a new chapter in his life out in Australia.
The back-rower said of his decision: “This is something I have to do, if I don’t do it now I never will, and then I would spend the rest of my life thinking ‘what if’.’
“I’m not tied to a job or a personal relationship and I’ve finished my studies so now is the time to go. I’m looking forward to playing in New South Wales, but I still haven’t made up my mind about which offer I’m going to accept.”
Head coach Scott Naylor added: “We’re really sorry to be losing Liam, but he’s right when he says now is the time he must go if he is ever going to do it. We hope everything works out for him and we thank him for his wonderful service to the club over five years.
“He’s got a job and the choice of two clubs in the Wollongong area, so he’s got everything in place to make it work. If you’ve no ties approaching your mid-twenties it’s the perfect time to make a go of it on the other side of the world.
“He’s been a great lad for the club over five years. For most of them, he’s been there or thereabouts when we’ve been dishing out club honours at the end of each season and in one of those years he was a very worthy recipient of the player-of-the-year award.
“It shows what sort of a lad he is, and what he has contributed to this club, when you consider that in five years here he has always been high up in the ratings and a regular in the 17 whenever fit. He hasn’t missed many matches in the last three seasons, that’s for sure.”
While Thompson leaves, Oldham have brought in 20-year-old second-row forward Adam Jones, who was at the Swinton Lions last season.
Oldham chairman Chris Hamilton said of Jones’s arrival: “He’s a big, aggressive lad, who played against us for Swinton last season and showed up well. He’ll bring something a bit different to our pack and I know Scott and Peter (coaches Scott Naylor and Peter Carey) are looking forward to working with him.”
On joining the club, Jones said: “I had a few offers, but Chris (Hamilton) sold me Oldham and convinced me it was the club for me.
“I know Pete (Carey) and a couple of the lads so that was another reason why I wanted to sign for Oldham. Liam Bent also told me what a good club it was. I play back-row or loose and I’m really looking forward to a new challenge and to getting stuck in.”