Veteran Super League recruits to head up leadership group at Sean Long’s Oldham next season

Ben Olawumi
Jordan Turner, Joe Wardle

Jordan Turner (left) & Joe Wardle (right) will head up Oldham's leadership group in 2024 - Alamy

Experienced Super League pair Jordan Turner and Joe Wardle will take up the roles of captain and vice-captain respectively for Sean Long’s Oldham in League 1 next season.

The duo’s arrivals – from Castleford Tigers and Leigh Leopards respectively – were announced before the end of the campaign just gone, with each taking on a player-coach role.

Long’s appointment as head coach was then confirmed at the end of October, with targets clearly set on topping the three in the third tier come the culmination of the upcoming campaign.

Of course, in the new era of IMG, on-field performance alone won’t be enough to guarantee promotion – or demotion for that matter – for any team, but the Roughyeds have pieced together a squad full of quality, including both Turner and Wardle.

Oldham revealed the full details of Long’s newly-founded ‘leadership group’ via their club website earlier today.

Veteran Super League recruits Jordan Turner and Joe Wardle to head up leadership group at Sean Long’s Oldham next season

2014 Super League Grand Final winner Turner will captain his hometown club in 2024 as he comes towards the end of a career which also briefly took him Down Under to try his hand in the NRL.

Boss Long hailed the impact that the 34-year-old has already had in pre-season as he explained his decision to hand him the main leadership role.

Long – who won four Grand Finals during his own career – said: ““He is really experienced and, in training, he talks to the group well. He’s kind of the coach on the field with how he operates, which is why I picked him.

“With him being an Oldham lad, coupled with his experience throughout his career, it just made sense.”

There’s no doubting what the title means to Turner, who added: “Being made captain is probably one of the biggest honours in my career.

“To captain the club of my hometown means an awful lot, and I want to thank Sean for handing me the role. When I first started watching Oldham, they were in Super League, so it was always a dream just to be able to play for them.

“If you had said this would happen to me at the start of the year, I probably would have thought you were mad. It’s a dream come true.”

Sean Long names seven-strong leadership group at Oldham for 2024 including newly-recruited Wigan Warriors academy star Logan Astley

Wardle meanwhile joins the Roughyeds on the back of a two-year stint at Leigh. Achieving promotion in 2022, the stalwart made 27 appearances, and this term was more of a bit-part player but was crowned a Challenge Cup winner, the unused 18th man for Adrian Lam’s side at Wembley against Hull KR back in August.

At Oldham in 2024, the 32-year-old and Turner will be joined in the ‘leadership group’ by five others – Craig Kopczak, Elijah Taylor, Matty Wildie, Danny Craven and Logan Astley.

The latter of those, a Wigan Warriors academy product, has played just 12 senior games to date in his career, but Roughyeds head coach Long has faith in all of the seven picked to deliver what he asks of them both on and off the field.

He added: “There are more leaders in the team than what I put in, but I usually keep it to around seven members. We may add to it during the year, and I think it shows that we’ve got some good leaders in the team.

Logan has lots of potential and lately in training he’s been speaking up quite a bit. I think this will help him learn off the other leaders and make him a better player.”

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