PAUL ROWLEY is already a big fan of his new loose-forward Oliver Partington.
The 24-year-old was one of six off-season additions at Salford Red Devils, joining from Wigan Warriors on a two-year contract.
A product of Wigan’s famed Academy, Partington made almost a century of appearances for the club following his 2018 debut, including the 2020 Super League Grand Final defeat by St Helens.
He also represented England Knights in 2019, playing against Jamaica in his sole international appearance to date.
But Partington fell increasingly out of favour at Wigan last season and the Red Devils pounced to add him to a squad that reached the play-off semi-finals last term.
He made his competitive debut for Salford in their season-opening win over Leigh, when Rowley reckoned him to be among the stand-out performers.
“He was outstanding. Everything he did was of a really high quality and he did it for long minutes. On debut, that was fantastic,” he said.
Last season, the loose-forward role at Salford was taken first by Elijah Taylor, now at Featherstone Rovers, and latterly by Alex Gerrard.
Their form surged towards the end of 2022 with Gerrard in position and Rowley sees similar traits in Partington, who can play several positions within the pack but has put on record his desire to be a loose-forward.
“He’s a bit like Alex Gerrard, he’s a clever player. You’ve seen that from him in a Wigan shirt,” added Rowley.
“He makes good decisions, when to play and when to run, but always with a run-first mentality, which I think is important.
“He mixes his game up well but he builds that on a tough, solid foundation.
“He doesn’t play pretty but he makes good decisions and asks questions of the defence.”