Defence the key – Spanner

Date published: Monday, August 18, 2014
OLDHAM scored a magnificent seven tries — four of them beauties — in the 38-10 win against Hemel Stags, but Scott Naylor and his right-hand man Lee Spencer were most pleased by a defensive effort that Spencer dubbed ‘stoical and hugely resilient.’

Naylor left post-match media interviews to his No 2, who revealed that Roughyeds used new defensive systems for the first time.
Said ‘Spanner’ (Spencer): “We introduced the new stuff to maximise our fitness. We believe there isn’t another side in the division that can match us for fitness and we’ve been looking at ways in which we can make the most of that.
“I don’t want to go too much into technicalities other than to say that, on defence, we did a lot of work pre-match on our re-set speed and our line speed which meant we were up and at ’em all the time. It was a case of bang, bang, bang.
“They weren’t prepared for us to be so enthusiastic and aggressive in defence and it was on the back of that aggression that we were able to play some great attacking rugby as well and to score some long-range tries up the slope in the second half.
“The George Tyson try was class in both its build-up, via Danny Langtree, and its final execution by George.
“We won the second half 18-4 up the slope, against the wind and despite conceding five penalties in a row and getting a team warning. I think that says it all.
“I don’t want to comment on the penalties. I guess at the end of the day it’s all about interpretation.
“Playing Lewis Palfrey at full-back worked well because he was like an extra pivot. We had three playmakers and Lewis was able to influence how we started our sets and to help ‘Ropes’ (Roper) and ‘Robbo’ (Robinson) in organising things.
“Out in the centre ‘Cookie’ (Cookson) was immense, not only with his big hits but with his aggressive ball carrying. It was his impact on defence which went a long way to keeping Jy-Mel Coleman quiet, especially in the second half when Hemel had so much ball.
“It was good, too, to have Gareth Owen and Kenny Hughes as hookers. They are both good footballers and they are smart enough to spot weaknesses and capitalise on them.”