Halifax Panthers are delighted to announce the re-signing of forward Cole Oakley until the end of the 2023 season. The youngster has signed a new one year contract extension with the club.
The 22 year old former Warrington Wolves and Newcastle Thunder man joined the Panthers in the 2022 close season. Having featured in pre season against Wakefield Trinity and Salford Red Devils, Oakley went on to make his competitive first team debut against London Broncos at Plough Lane in July, but overall found starting opportunities limited in his first year at The Shay. He spent time on loan with Hunslet and Dewsbury Rams during the 2022 season.
But Oakley was optimistic about his future at the club.
“I’m buzzing to be here for another year”, said Oakley. “I loved my time here last year. Obviously, I didn’t get as much game time as competition is always high here but I’ll just have to push my way in this year. I feel like there’s been improvements in my game since I moved to Halifax. All the small detail stuff and doing those extra efforts which Simon is looking for so I’ll be looking to further improve on that this year. Hopefully I can get more game time this season at Halifax but if not, more game time in the Championship where I can show Simon what I can do at this level.”
Panthers head coach Simon Grix continued: “Cole has been good this year. He played most of the year at Hunslet, I though he had a promising pre season but I think it’s pretty obvious for all those that have watched this year that Ben Kavanagh, Matty Gee and Matt Garside have got experience and miles on the clock and all that. He had a bit in front of him, and he knew that from the start. For Cole, I think it’s just about development and getting better. Physically, he’s a good sized kid. There’s certain things he needs to improve on however, I think he’s definitely got better through playing games against men on a regular basis.”
“He got his opportunity to make his debut at London away, which was really unfortunate. I really felt for him because when a young player comes in, everyone around them needs to be playing at the level you expect and it’s fair to say that the majority were off that day which made Cole’s job that bit harder. He didn’t do a great deal wrong in that game but I don’t think he got the help he needed to make sure he had a good performance in his first outing which was unfortunate. But he’s come in with the same smile on his face all the way through, he’s willing to get better, he works hard and there’s definitely a player in there. For Cole, at his age and where he’s at with us as a club and his career, I think he’s at a bit of a crossroads where you’ve got to do something to make sure you nudge someone else out of the way otherwise it might be the last chance saloon at our club possibly. But he’ll come in and fire into pre season as he did last time and we’ll see where that takes him. He’s a really good kid and that’s a big part of it, and that means he’ll get opportunities if he does the right things. It’s in his hands really.”