LDHAM have signed Halifax-based centre Zack McComb (22), a former Huddersfield Giants under-19s player, who was selected in the England Universities’ 24-man squad for last year’s Student World Cup in Australia.
A third-year sports coaching student at Leeds Beckett University, McComb joined Roughyeds for pre-season training last November and enjoyed two successful trials in pre-season games against Barrow Raiders away and Keighley Cougars at the Vestacare Stadium, where he scored his first try in Oldham colours.
In 2015 he played in the same Huddersfield academy side as Jared Simpson, Darnell McIntosh, Tyler Dickinson, Sam Wood and Mikey Wood, who have all played for Roughyeds on dual-registration over the last two seasons.
Oldham chairman Chris Hamilton said: “Zack has been with us for a while and he has impressed the coaching staff both in tough pre-season training and with his performances against Barrow and Keighley.
“He was playing top-class amateur rugby league with National Conference premiers Siddal last year and he also has a professional background from his time with Huddersfield Giants and Batley Bulldogs.”
The signing, on a one-year contract, was completed in time for McComb to be available for selection in the Oldham squad to open up their 2018 Betfred League 1 campaign against Whitehaven at the Recreation Ground on Sunday (3pm kick-off).
Although born in Keighley, where his late father Wayne McComb played for Keighley Albion, Zack has lived most of his life in Halifax where he played for Siddal from the age of seven to 14 when he had approaches from Salford, Bradford and Huddersfiel.
He chose to join the Giants and he enjoyed five years there before moving on to Batley Bulldogs. During his eight months with the Bulldogs he had two games on dual-reg with Oxford and four on loan with Gloucester All Golds.
Zack said: “The travelling got me down and, for a while, I called it a day. But I soon started to miss the game so I went back to Siddal towards the end of the 2016 season and I had my first full season with them as a senior in 2017.
“We did well in the premier division of the Conference, reaching a couple of grand finals and putting up a performance that caught the headlines when we held Toronto Wolfpack to 14-6 in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup. What a day that was !
“When I got the call from Oldham I saw it as a good opportunity to get back into the pro game and things have worked out just right for me.
“It was brilliant to get back into the pro environment and the welcome I got from everyone at Oldham was overwhelming. I didn’t think it would be anything like that. It was a tough pre-season, very tough, but the other lads and the coaching staff were very supportive and very positive and I loved every minute of it.
“Conditions up at Barrow were grim when I made my debut, but I thought I did well against Keighley. I got over for one too; I really enjoyed that.
“Now I’ve got a one-year contract and I’m made up with that too. I’m buzzing. I feel like I’ve got some reward for all the hard work I’ve put in and an incentive to go on and make the most of the opportunity the club has given me to make a fresh start at pro level.”