Business as usual
Centre Marcus St Hilaire has signed a new one-year contract on less money which means it will be business as usual on the Oldham Roughyeds' right flank in the coming season.
The 33-year-old former Super League star was winger Lucas Onyango's inside partner in 20 of the Roughyeds' 28 games in cup and league in 2010.
Onyango also took a pay cut to sign a similar deal last week so coach Tony Benson will once again be in a position to rely on his tried-and-trusted right-wing combination.
A delighted Benson has spoken in glowing terms of the loyalty being shown to the club by senior players at a time when budgets have to be trimmed.
"Marcus has taken a pretty hefty cut," revealed Benson. "He could have gone to one of any number of clubs but he didn't want to move. I really appreciate that. He has been very loyal.
"He is a top pro -- probably the most professional player I have ever coached. He has forgotten more about rugby than some players will ever know and he is always ready to give younger boys the benefit of his experience. He commands a lot of respect in the dressing room. When he speaks the others listen.
"We have signed a lot of young players and 'Junior', as we know him, will be a great help to them, especially to the outside backs. He will be a big help to me, as well."
It will be St Hilaire's fourth season with the Roughyeds. Having spent the whole of his earlier career in Super League with Huddersfield, Leeds and Bradford, he joined Oldham on a two-year contract at the start of the 2008 season. He re-signed for 2010 and, at 33, his decision to put pen to paper on his third Roughyeds contract suggests that he will probably be happy to bring his playing days to an end at Oldham.
His overall Roughyeds record is 73 appearances and 29 tries, but he is equally well admired for his defence and his reading of defensive situations as he is for his attacking prowess.
In his first season at Oldham under Steve Deakin he scored 15 tries in 32 appearances, playing nine games on the wing, 12 in the centre, ten at full-back and one off the bench.
In his two seasons with Benson as boss he has played nearly every game at centre, scoring 11 tries from 20 outings in 2009 and three tries in 21 games in 2010.