Benson left feeling sick after defeat

Date published: Tuesday, June 26, 2012

OLDHAM RL coach Tony Benson said he felt “physically sick” in the aftermath of Sunday’s heavy home defeat by derby rivals Rochdale Hornets — his beleaguered squad’s sixth league defeat in a row.

Speaking with emotion ahead of tonight’s training session — the first since his players produced their worst performance of the year — Benson said: “I feel for everyone at the club. I would give my right arm to turn this round because that’s how important it is to me.

“Not only I, but my wife and small son have been devastated over the last few weeks. I’m Oldham through and through.

“The players think like me. Even the two Leeds Rhinos boys who have just joined us on dual registration have bought into it.

“Every single player has thought of nothing but promotion since the start of the season.

“It’s too much; it’s all we ever talk about — that’s part of the problem.”

Benson’s men set off like a house on fire, winning their first three games, two of them against Barrow and Workington, who are now first and second in the division.

In stark contrast, Roughyeds are down to sixth and the only teams beneath them are the four non-heartland clubs — the two in Wales, London Skolars and Gateshead Thunder.

Next up is a trek to fourth-placed Whitehaven on Sunday and Benson and his senior players will be looking to make sure that the mistakes made against Rochdale will not be repeated.

Reflecting on Rochdale, the Roughyeds boss said he was disappointed that some of his players “dropped their heads a bit”.

He added: “We knew what Rochdale were going to do to us and we took the bait.

“We had worked very hard during the week to simulate the sort of pressures we would be under in the game, but when it came to the crunch some of the players didn’t respond and the others were let down when the going got tough.

“Neil Roden topped our tackle count by a long way. He was having things done to him in the tackle which shouldn’t happen, and reasonably serious things at that.

“At the same time he should not have reacted in the way he did.

“He is a senior player and captain and Neil will be the first to admit that he should not have let it affect his game.

“Pre-match I was excited about the game and I was really looking forward to it because we had trained and prepared so well. I thought we were ready for it, but it all backfired badly.

“I’ve since asked each of the players not to point the finger at others, but to do some self-examination.”

Giving a strong hint that the club was still out to strengthen the squad in readiness for the seven-game run-in to the end of the season, Benson said promotion was still a possibility and was still on the agenda.

“I have faith in the squad,” he said, “and if we can get a couple of players in I still feel we are capable of going up. I honestly feel we can still do it, though we can’t afford to lose another game.

“We just need a lucky break for a change.”

Winger Chris Holroyde has been transferred back to Halifax on completion of his month’s loan, thus leaving one free place for another temporary signing.