Martin Roden’s view

Date published: Monday, August 20, 2012

“WHAT a difference a week makes,” murmured Martin Roden after piloting Roughyeds to a glorious 28-18 win against title-chasing Workington Town at Whitebank.

It was easily Oldham’s best all-round performance since Workington and Barrow were among their early-season victims last Spring.

Considerable credit for that rests with caretaker-boss Roden, who revealed that rugby balls were banned on the training ground in the run-up to the game.
“We didn’t get a ball out all week,” he said. “It was defence, defence, defence.

“I challenged the boys to sign off in our final home game with pride and passion. They owed at least that to a lot of people who have stuck with them through some very difficult months.

“I wanted them to send the fans home happy, and I’m pretty sure they did that.

“Everybody was superb . . . and what a fabulous effort from Mark Brocklehurst and young Danny Langtree, who had also played the night before for the reserves in their trophy final at Featherstone.

“We had to dig deep in the second half when they came at us down the slope.

“We conceded three tries, but if we had defended like we did the week before against Doncaster we would have let ten in.

“All last week we worked on three aspects of defending — aggression, line unison and urgency.

“Because we kept getting penalised — and I don’t blame the referee for that — Workington had all the ball in the second half when they threw everything at us bar the kitchen sink.

“They needed to win here to keep on track for finishing top and picking up a £50,000 prize, but we might have scuppered that for them thanks to our fantastic defensive effort.

“We led 24-0 at half-time, but they are a big, strong side and we knew there would be a time when they would come at us with all the weight and power of an express train.

“Everything would hinge on how we stood up to it.

“I would never claim that I was a good player, but I liked tackling and would regularly reach 40 tackles a game.

“You have to have the will to do it — to put on a big hit and really enjoy it.

“There was one incident in which Chris Clarke smashed into one of their big forwards, knocked him down and stood over him for a second or two. That was a defining moment in the game and one which gave us a massive psychological boost.”