Alex wants to put a kick in it

Date published: Friday, February 14, 2014
THERE’S a side to Alex Davidson’s game that not many people know.
The Salford prop, who has joined Oldham on season-long loan, fancies his chances as a goalkicker . . . and he has made coach Scott Naylor aware of his ambitions in that direction.
“I’ve had a word with him,” he revealed, “but whether he’ll want to consider it, I don’t know. Coaches generally are not keen on front-row forwards doing kicking.
“I’m sure he’s happy with Lewis Palfrey.
“But I’m comfortable with goalkicking — and I would be chuffed to do it if I got the chance.”
Sam Gee and Steven Nield shared those duties in pre-season games against Barrow and Swinton, which Palfrey missed through injury.
The skipper has since recovered from a back complaint and will play at Whitebank tomorrow in the final warm-up match against Leigh (2.30pm kick off).
That apart, 21-year-old Davidson’s focus has to be on playing well enough at prop to earn himself a spot in the 17 who will take on South Wales in Maesteg in the first league game.
Jason Boults and Michael Ward started against Barrow and Swinton, but in each game Davidson made an impact off the bench, scoring his first Oldham try within minutes of taking the field at Craven Park and then going over for a 79th minute winner against Swinton.
With Boults (30) as reliable as ever, and with Ward punching above his weight, there will be huge competition once Phil Joy is fit.
Naylor will have Boults, Ward, Davidson, Joy, Paddy Mooney and possibly George Tyson vying for spots in the engine room.
Joy (groin), Tyson (hip) and Tom Whitehead (achilles) will not play tomorrow, nor will winger Dale Bloomfield, whose full-time employment involves working through Friday night.
Palfrey is back to lead the side, while Mooney will make his home debut after missing the Swinton game with a head injury sustained at Barrow.
Oldham (from): Palfrey, Nield, Cookson, Wood, Agoro, Hughes, Robinson, Boults, Whitmore, Ward, Crowley, Langtree, Thompson, Hobson, Davidson, Files, Hall, Gee, Mooney.
Said Naylor: “We’ve got to play for 80 minutes and we’ve got to be consistent because that will be key to anything we achieve this year.”
Davidson, a third-year sports science student at Salford University, knows what he wants to achieve.
He said: “My greatest wish is to help Oldham to win promotion. Long term, I hope to be playing Super League regularly within five years.
“I’m at home here because I’ve been with ‘Spanner’ (assistant boss Lee Spencer) since I was 17 and I know lots of the lads who were previously at Salford.”
In 2012 a Salford second team coached by Spencer and including Whitehead, Files and Davidson finished second in the league for Super League reserve teams.
Davidson had made his Super League debut against Hull KR the previous year, aged 18, and he followed up with two more top-flight outings against Huddersfield and Leeds last season.
He acknowledges that what he needs most of all is regular senior rugby and that’s why he didn’t think twice when he got the chance to come to Oldham.