Martyn Ridyard hails part-time rugby after making Oldham move

Martyn Ridyard Swinton
Martyn Ridyard kicking a goal for Swinton

Former Leigh half-back Martyn Ridyard will play in League 1 in 2022 after joining Oldham.

Ridyard, 35, scored more than 2000 points in two spells with the Centurions and was Championship Player of the Year in 2014.

He played for Leigh in Super League and also with Huddersfield, before moving on to Featherstone and then Swinton, where he spent last season.

The prolific goal-kicker, who has signed a one-year deal, is reunited with new Roughyeds coach Stuart Littler.

Ridyard said: “Stu was a massive influence on my decision to join Oldham, obviously. He and I go back a long way. We are firm friends.

Martyn Ridyard recommending part-time rugby

“He got me to Swinton last year and got me enjoying my rugby again. It was a period of great change, involving going from full-time rugby to part time, but to be honest it was the best thing that could have happened to me.

“I’m back working as a roofer — the real world — and I’m loving it. I can highly recommend part-time rugby.

“It’s tough and very demanding, but you can divide your life into three — home and family, day job and rugby — and if you get the balance right it’s great.

“Despite the poor results, the one season I had at Swinton was the most enjoyable I’ve had for a long time. I’ve never been on a losing side as often, going right back to junior days. But I enjoyed being part of a great bunch of lads, who were not only good players, but good people.

“The mateship and camaraderie were brilliant and that’s something else I love about part-time rugby. I’m sure the Oldham lads from last season would say the same.

“I gave the move a lot of thought, but the opportunity to play for Stu again was very appealing, as was the opportunity to sign for a good club like Oldham.

“Don’t tell too many people I’m 35, but I still have a lot left in me. I always said the aches and pains after a match would tell me when it was time to go, but in all honesty I feel as fit as I’ve ever done.

“I’m looking forward immensely to the new challenge. I’ve never played in League One before. People tell me it’s really tough and competitive.”

Bouncing back

Oldham were relegated from the Championship at the end of 2021 after parting company with coach Matt Diskin earlier in the season.

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They have appointed former Salford centre Littler, sacked by Swinton earlier this year, to guide them to an immediate return.

Littler said: “He will be my voice out there. I saw quite a bit of Oldham last year and I’m sure Martyn’s knowledge, experience and ability will help me to educate the side in how to play an attacking and entertaining brand of rugby league. He’ll be on the pitch, I won’t.

“Martyn has loads of experience and, in rugby league terms, he’s certainly got the T-shirt. He knows the game inside out and he’s very smart in decision-making.

“We are getting a good group together and we are hoping people will see what we are trying to do and will want to come and join us.

“We are trying to build bridges and to get some real Oldham ownership within the team.

“It’s a building process and we’ve a long way to go, but the bricks are coming together, no doubt about that.”

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