Rochdale Hornets have confirmed a 27-man squad ahead of the upcoming League 1 campaign, preparing for a fifth consecutive year in the third tier.
The Hornets have made 14 new signings ahead of 2024 as well as securing the signature of Ben Forster, who spent 2023 with them as a loanee from Championship outfit Halifax Panthers.
This time last week, Gregg McNally’s return to the Crown Oil Arena for next season was confirmed. The Ireland international scored an eye-catching 20 tries in 21 appearances for the club in 2022.
Full-back McNally spent this year across the North West with Oldham, alongside another veteran in long-time pal and team-mate Martyn Ridyard.
Playmaker Ridyard spent years with McNally at Leigh – then Centurions – as they became a dominant force in the Championship, and too returns to Rochdale for a second stint in 2024 having previously appeared as a loanee in the 2020 campaign which was cut short by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
With a heap of landmarks in sight for the half-back, amongst the most eye-catching is the fact that – depending on how well 2024 goes – he could well reach 3,000 points scored in his career.
They will be joined next term by Jamaica international Jordan Andrade, with the prop making the move from beaten League 1 play-off finalists North Wales Crusaders, and Kenny Baker.
Forward Baker was with Swinton Lions in 2023, featuring 25 times for Allan Coleman’s side as they preserved their status in the second tier.
How Rochdale Hornets are shaping up for 2024; 27 players locked in at the Crown Oil Arena
As confirmed via the club’s website earlier this weekend, on top of the 14 new signings and Forster, Gary Thornton and his Hornets coaching staff have also tied down 12 others with new one-year deals.
Experienced head Duane Straugheir is amongst those, a product of the Bradford Bulls academy who went on to spend six years with Sheffield Eagles and five with Hunslet. The 34-year-old captained the Parksiders under boss Thornton.
Elsewhere, Wigan Warriors academy product Toby Brannan is retained. The youngster – who had previously featured as a loanee for both Cornwall & Workington Town, linked up with Rochdale ahead of 2023. He would go on to feature 13 times in his first 12 months with the club, and will be sticking around come 2024.
Here’s the full list of the 27 players contracted to the Hornets for 2024, in alphabetical order by their surname.
Retained: AJ Boardman, Toby Brannan, Dan Brewin, Tommy Brierley, Lewis Else, Luke Forber, Ben Forster (spent 2023 with club as a loanee), Kyle Huish, Ben Killan, Dan Nixon, Connor Ratcliffe, Aiden Roden, Duane Straugheir
Recruited: Jordan Andrade, Kenny Baker, Joe Coope-Franklin, Jaden Dayes, Max Flanagan, Myles Harrop, Joe Hartley, Callum Hughes, Gregg McNally, Deane Meadows, Luke Nelmes, Martyn Ridyard, Matty Rudd, Matt Wilkinson