How Town see us

Date published: Thursday, September 6, 2012

OLDHAM RL Club might as well cancel their trip to Workington and accept play-off defeat NOW, according to reports coming out of Derwent Park.

In stoking up pre-match hype surrounding Sunday’s sudden-death clash, the Cumbrians are giving Roughyeds no credit for having beaten them twice in Championship One, costing them the league title and a £50,000 prize.

Tony Benson’s Oldham won 24-14 at Derwent Park on the opening day of the season; Martin Roden’s Oldham followed up to complete a league double with a 28-18 triumph at Whitebank in the final home game of the season.

Referring to Sunday’s third clash as “pay-back” time, Town’s back-row forward Jarrad Stack said: “If we play to our full potential we’ll run ’em off the park. They’ve got some good players, but we’ve got some great players.”

And in a piece in their local paper headlined: ‘We’re better than you’ joint coach Gary Charlton said: “We have a better team than Oldham, but both times we’ve played them it has been a stop-start game.

“They don’t mind giving penalties away to slow the game down and they don’t mind defending. If we get the chance to play a free-flowing game we’ll win it.”

At Whitebank on August 19, Oldham had first use of the slope and led 24-0 at half-time. Referee Joe Cobb dished out an astonishing 30 penalties — 19 to Workington, 11 to Oldham.

Despite that, Roughyeds defended magnificently in the second half to give acting boss Roden his first victory in his second game as boss.

In the dying seconds, with Oldham assured of victory, the game flared up; players of both sides traded punches; Elliott Miller (Town) and Jamie Acton (Oldham) were sent off; and Brett Phillips (Town) and Luke Stenchion (Oldham) were sin-binned.

Neither Miller, who got a two-game ban, nor Acton, suspended for one game, has played since, but both are expected to be back in action on Sunday; Miller having missed games against Gateshead and Rochdale and Acton having taken no part in Oldham’s 56-12 win at Gateshead.

Town expect to field a full-strength side with the return of Graeme Mattinson at hooker; Brett Carter at full-back; and Miller, the division’s second highest try scorer with 23, on the wing.

Refusing to be drawn into a war of words, Roden said: “It’s always tough up there and we’ll be going as underdogs, given that they finished third, and won promotion, and we finished sixth.

“In a sudden-death game like this, it’s all about how each side plays on the day. We’ll give it our best shot, and see what happens.”

Stack, meanwhile, is confident Workington can go all the way to the play-off final at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington on September 30.

He added: “We had our hands on top spot and the prize money, but defeat at Oldham took those away from us. We’ll be out to make amends.

“We’re determined to make it to the final for our fans.”