More of the same please . . .Date published: Friday, September 18, 2015
MORE of the same please . . . that will be Scott Naylor’s last instruction to his players before they leave the dressing room for Sunday’s promotion final against Keighley Cougars.
In a run of 13 straight wins Oldham have seen off each of the other four teams in the play-offs and Naylor is keen to stress to his troops that. despite all the hype, the Whitebank showdown is “just another game of rugby”.
“In all our preparations we have followed routine rigidly,” said the Roughyeds boss. “Fans, the media and even the club can hype it up, but all that stuff is just a distraction for players and coaches.
“The reward for the winners is bigger than usual, but other than that it’s just our next game at Whitebank.
“All I ask of the 17 lads in Oldham jerseys is that they go out and play the same way as they’ve played in winning 13 games in a row.
“If they show the same intensity, attitude and desire they can’t do any more and they will give themselves a very good chance of winning the game.”
Naylor has 23 players to choose from and he will stick to his normal horses-for-courses policy by picking the side he feels will be best suited to the type of game he wants to play against the Cougars.
The game plan comes first, selection of the team afterwards.
“If we were playing Swinton, Rochdale or Barrow I would pick a different side to the one I’ll name for this game,” said the Oldham boss. “Over the last two games I’ve used the entire squad.
“The players understand fully that there is never anything personal in team selection. It’s a squad game and I pick the side in relation to the opposition and the way we’re going to play against them.
“I don’t mind making the tough decisions — that’s part of my job — and I much prefer to pick 17 from 23 rather than not having enough players.”
In contention will be the 17 who played at Oxford plus Lewis Palfrey, Sam Gee, Adam Neal, Richard Lepori, Danny Langtree and George Tyson.
Keighley have named a 20-man squad without long-serving hooker and captain James Feather and young half-back Adam Brook.
The March brothers, Paul and David, return after injury along with centre Rikki Sheriffe.
OLDHAM (from): Lepori, Dempsey, Clay, Tyson, Ashton, Ford, Holmes, Palfrey, Hewitt, Roper, P Joy, Owen, Hughes, Files, Neal, Crowley, Langtree, Thompsom, Hope, R Joy, Ward, Gee, Liku.
KEIGHLEY (from): J Sheriffe, Lawton, White, Handforth, Law, Lindsay, Rawlins, D March, Cherryholme, Pursglove, Bailey, Gabriel, P March, Lynam, R Sheriffe, Lee, Tahraoui, Dickinson, Guzdek, Mitchell.
Referee Malcolm Woodhead will have the assistance of in-goal judges as well as touch judges, which is normal RFL procedure for finals.