Joe Wardle makes bold Super League target for Oldham as he reflects on NRL stint with Newcastle Knights

IF there is one professional club making waves in the lower divisions then it is Oldham.

Consigned to League One for a number of years, the Lancashire club was taken over last year by a consortium led by former player Mike Ford – who has since become managing director.

Having relocated back to their spiritual home of Boundary Park, Oldham are a club keen to rediscover their roots with new head coach Sean Long putting together a squad capable of not only competing in League One, but the Championship as well.

The likes of Jordan Turner, Jamie Ellis and Joe Wardle all have a plethora of Super League experience under their belts whilst optimism is high amongst the Oldham faithful.

For new signing Wardle, Super League is the aim – though he knows just how tough it will be.

“Definitely Super League is the goal. As a club we’ve set out a plan and our goals of what we’d like to achieve and Super League is the target,” Wardle told League Express.

“Especially now with IMG taking over it allows clubs to grow in the right way for the future, achieve those targets and not just spend a load of money to make short-term success and then lose it all by going bust.

“I’d like to think we can achieve Super League in the next five or six years as there’s a lot going on at the club to hopefully make that happen.

“But it’s a process and things have to be done the right way for long-term success so that’s what we are aiming to do.

“The first part of the on-field stuff is to get this club back to the Championship this season. So nothing other than promotion is accepted in my eyes.

“The squad we’ve got is outstanding so that’s the first step and we’ll also be having good crack at the 1895 Cup.”

For Wardle, the move to Oldham is perhaps the last step for the 32-year-old as a player having been part of Super League for over a decade.

But, in between his Super League experience, Wardle also had a one-year spell in the NRL with Newcastle Knights, registering 17 appearances before moving back home.

Though Wardle admits it was perhaps the wrong club, the 32-year-old would recommend the move to any rugby league player.

“Going to Australia is something everyone wants to do as rugby player. So being able to achieve that will be the highlight of my career.

“The lifestyle is amazing, but I think looking back it was just the wrong club at the time of my career. There was too much of rebuild going on at Newcastle and looking back I needed more of a balanced club.

“But even with that, I still don’t regret it and I’d tell anyone to give it a go. It’s just a totally different style game over there so without trying it you’ll never know if it’s for you or not.”

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