Harlequins RL have rewarded winger Jamie O’Callaghan for an outstanding season by giving him a new three year contract.
O’Callaghan became a first team regular, scoring five tries in 23 appearances and winning the Young Player of the Year award. Jamie marks the seventh home grown player out of eight to be awarded a squad number in the top 25.
A local boy from Whitton, he was introduced to rugby league at Feltham College and played for West London Sharks where he represented London & South region for three consecutive years. “I’m pleased they offered me a contract because I can stay playing down here and play for my home club,” he said.
In June 2008, Jamie became the youngest player to represent the club in Super League when he played against Wigan at the JJB Stadium, aged just 17. He made two further first team appearances that season and the following year played a handful of games before his breakthrough season this year.
“With John Wells retiring I knew I had a chance of getting a few games which I did, so I was pleased about that,” said Jamie. “The more you play, the more confident you become and you really get into it.”
Even so, winning the Young Player of the Year award took him by surprise. “I wasn’t expecting it, so when they called my name out, I was really surprised. It’s great getting acknowledged for the work you’ve done through the season, I was really happy with that.”
Jamie has played full back on occasion but for the moment is concentrating on holding down his wing position. “I’ve played full back at reserve grade but it takes a lot of experience and knowledge of the game to play there, maybe it’s something for the future but at the moment I just want to be a strong winger for the club.”
Acting head coach Rob Powell believes the re-signing of Jamie, along with other local youngsters, is a really positive step for the club. “It’s another massive indication of the quality the club is producing,” he said. “Jamie played a full season and got better and better as the year went on, the more he plays the more he will trouble defences.”