Be prepared!!

Date published: Tuesday, August 19, 2014
BEATEN play-off finalists last year, Oldham RL are looking ahead to the possibility of another grand final showdown in October.
This year’s Kingstone Press Championships Finals Day is at Headingley, Leeds on Sunday, October 5  —  a date  
the Roughyeds’ coaching and training staff will have at the back of their minds in everything they do over the next few weeks.
They say it’s not a case of counting chickens, but a commonsense approach to ensure the squad is fully prepared for the two important league games still to come, followed by round-by-round play-off challenges up to and including the final. 
In other words, it’s no good starting to plan for a grand final once you’ve qualified, perhaps only seven days earlier.
“The build-up has already started,” said assistant boss Lee Spencer who, as Scott Naylor’s right-hand man, plays a major role in getting players physically and mentally prepared for each game.
Defensive systems used for the first time in the 38-10 hammering of Hemel were part of a new seven-week training programme.
“The way we train has been changed a bit and that’s designed to bring out the best in us over the next seven weeks,” said ever-present second-row forward Josh Crowley.
“We’ve got some massive games coming up, including the two leading up to the play-offs, and we are asking fans to get behind us in numbers.
“We’ve got as good a chance as any other team to make it to the final and if we did we would do all in our power to make amends for last year’s disappointment.
“A few of us were nervous last year. I know I choked a bit. But we’ll be better for the experience.”
The 22-year-old former Widnes forward has played in each of Oldham’s 44 games since he signed for the club at the start of last season.
“I’ve been lucky not to get serious injuries, but to be honest I’m nearly always carrying knocks. They’re part of the game,” he said.
“I can’t recall ever missing a competitive game since I first became a professional.”
Oldham hope to get RFL clearance for Edwin Okanga-Ajwang to be eligible for any of the remaining games this season.
The young centre, on dual-registration from Salford, has played four times for Roughyeds, but regulations governing a player of his status with his parent club required him to have turned out six times before last Friday’s signing deadline.
“We asked for dispensation a couple of weeks ago,” said club chairman Chris Hamilton. “He has missed games through injury and then he picked up an illness that kept him out of games that would have taken him past the qualification mark.
“Our request has been approved subject to the medical people providing relevant documentation.”
Salford’s physiotherapy department has done that, but the doctor’s documentation is still awaited.