16th May 2019, 11:35
Hornets land two more signings
ROCHDALE Hornets have signed Rochdale Mayfield’s BARLA international duo Callum Marriott and Aidy Gleeson.
The pair follow recent capture Lewis Sheridan and existing squad members Brandon Wood and Seta Tala in making the switch from the town’s highly-productive amateur club.
Back rower Marriott - the son of former Hornets favourite Karl - is a former Salford academy and Oldham player who represented England Lions on their 2016 tour of Fiji.
Prop Gleeson has toured South Africa and Fiji with BARLA Great Britain - being vice captain for the latter - and also skippered Lancashire and played for Great Britain Teachers. He teams up again with coach Matt Calland, having played under him for at Hopwood Hall college and Mayfield.
Calland is delighted with both captures. He said: “They are two more lads that have come through at Mayfield and again it’s testament to the development work that’s been done at the club.
“We were looking for players in the middle, and Callum is a very tough, uncompromising player.
“He’s the sort of player you can build a team around - he carries the ball strong, gets through his work and is really tough defensively.
“Aidy is another good player, a Great Britain BARLA international. I’ve coached him for years now, first at Hopwood Hall and then with Mayfield, and he’s a prop with very good feet and hands for a big man.
“He’s exactly what we need in the middle of the field - an explosive impact player off the bench.”
The two players are relishing the step up into the professional ranks.
Marriott, who turns 26 later this month said: “I’m looking forward to challenging myself.
“I’ve got quite a bit of work in me - I’ll tackle all day long. And I’m looking forward to working with Matt again as well - he didn't belong in the amateur game, the stuff he was doing at Mayfield was pro level.”
Gleeson, 29, said: “I had an opportunity to join the club a few years ago and decided to stick with Mayfield at the time, but I feel like if I didn’t take the chance now I never will.
“With my age, and the fact that Matt has taken over and been such a big part of my rugby career, it felt like the right time to do it.
“Matt used to like to use me as an impact player off the bench and hopefully I can bring that to the team and be a good character to have around.”
Marriott admits it will be extra special for him to pull a Hornets shirt on for the first time. Dad Karl, a team-mate of Calland’s, died suddenly following a training session in 1998, having been a hugely respected player for over a decade, earning heritage number 991 when he made his debut in April 1988.
Callum said: “There’s a bit of history there even though it was years ago now - I think my mum will be proud of me.”
Coach Calland added: “Callum’s very similar to his dad the way he plays the game - hopefully now he can carry on the family legacy for Rochdale Hornets.”
Marriott and Gleeson are set to be included in the squad to face Swinton Lions at the Summer Bash in Blackpool on Sunday, tickets can be bought through the club at https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/rochdale-hornets-rlfc.
Pic credit: Aidan Gleeson Snr.