Whittel leaves Oldham to make Australia move

Utility forward Emmerson Whittel is leaving Oldham to take up an opportunity in Australia with Rockingham Sharks.

Whittel, 25, played in all but two of the Roughyeds game in 2019, helping them earn promotion to the Championship.

But he has declined a new deal for next season, to take up a one-year agreement with the Western Australia champions.

He said: “I’ve recently graduated from Huddersfield University in electrics and electrical engineering so I’ve nothing now to stop me going.

“Chris (club chairman Chris Hamilton) offered me a good deal to stay and to play in the Championship in 2020, but at my age, 25, this could be my last chance to fulfil my ambition to play rugby in Australia and to see a bit of the world.

“I’ve always wanted to do this, like a lot of lads with no ties, and I felt it was too good an opportunity to miss.

“I would have loved to play for Oldham in the Championship and, who knows, if an opportunity comes up in the future for me to return to the club I would jump at it because I enjoyed the promotion season so much.

“I can’t predict the future or say for certain how long I will be over there but initially I’ve applied for a 12-months working visa and we’ll see what happens from there.

“A few clubs in Australia were interested, but Anthony Bowman spoke highly about Rockingham who, unlike the others, offered me a job and accommodation as well as the playing contract.

“In some ways I’m gutted to be giving up my involvement with Oldham going forward but I’m also excited to be going to Australia.

“I might be back one day though and if that happened nobody would be happier than me.”