Bulking up

Date published: Thursday, March 6, 2014

MUSCLE-UP . . . and that’s an order !

It was fired at Oldham RL players by coach Scott Naylor, who wanted a physically stronger squad this year and one with a bit more grunt.
To achieve it, revealed second-row forward Josh Crowley, Naylor and his No 2 Lee Spencer tweaked training schedules and involved players in a lot more gym work on weights.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s first home league game, Crowley said: “We didn’t do much weight-training last year because we were all new to each other and in the time we had available there were too many other things we needed to work on.
“We were told to fit in gym work in our own time, but because I have a full-time job and we train three times a week and then play on Sundays I didn’t get to grips much with the weights.
“We weren’t a small side last year but there were odd times when opponents were a bit more physical and the boss identified that as something we needed to address.
“We are in the gym and on the weights as part of every training session now and I feel a lot stronger for it. I don’t think I’m on my own either.”
A former Widnes forward, 22-year-old Crowley tips the scales at 16st 11lbs —- a pound or two heavier than last year when only he and hooker Adam Files played in each of the Roughyeds’ 24 games.
Unlike Files though, Crowley played for 80 minutes in nearly every game.
He hopes fans will turn up in force against Hemel Stags at Whitebank on Sunday (3pm) to cheer on Roughyeds to a better start than they had in last year’s Championship One campaign.
They lost only three league games all season, but two of those were the first two home games against derby rivals Rochdale and an Oxford side coached by former Oldham boss Tony Benson which included several former Roughyeds players.
Crowley is confident that this time Roughyeds can turn Whitebank into home-sweet–home.
He added: “I’d like to be an ever-present again, but it will be harder this year because there is more competition for places in a stronger squad.
“We’re a closely-knit bunch — more than last year — and that’s party due to the quality of the players who have come in.
“Their enthusiasm is infectious. Ben Wood, in particular, is a real character. He’s livened things up in the dressing room and morale is sky high.”