Bensons thoughts over first two games

Date published: Monday, March 19, 2012

TONY Benson has sampled the ups and downs of rugby league for too long to become giddy over a couple of early-season victories.

Nevertheless, stats in this instance don’t lie —- Oldham sit on top of Championship One at this early juncture as one of only two teams with a 100 per cent record.

“Things are coming along nicely,” said the Roughyeds’ boss after the 40-14 defeat of Gateshead Thunder at Whitebank.

He added: “In many ways this was an improvement on last week’s performance at Workington. That’s what pleases me most.

“We are getting better as a team each time we go out and, more importantly, we are consciously trying to move a step forward with every game.

“We analyse each performance in 20-minute spells. We dominated three of the four, but for reasons which I need to clarify on the match DVD we lost our way a bit in the first 20 minutes ¬†of the second half.

“That was the only period of the game when they threatened us. They had more ball than us and they had 12 sets to our six, and it was in that period that they scored each of their three tries.

“That one spell apart, our general defence was good and resolute again and our goal-line defence was immense.

“Missed tackles were minimal, and it was pleasing to ‘nil’ them for more than 50 minutes, although I do need to examine how they came to get on top for that brief period early in the second half.

“To concede seven penalties wasn’t bad, but it was where we conceded them that got us into a spot of bother at times.

“On attack we kept good shape, produced sharp support play and scored some good tries.

“Let’s not forget that Gateshead are a better side than a lot of people think. They are big physically, they defend strongly, and we had to work hard to take control of the game.

“It was 20 minutes before we opened the scoring — that in itself shows how tough it was in that opening quarter and it’s going to be no easier in every game we play in this most competitive of divisions.”