“Must do better”…..Phil Joy

Date published: Tuesday, November 4, 2014
PHIL Joy’s self-assessment of his form last season didn’t make pleasant reading for a young man who isn’t used to being second best.
Whether head down in the front-row or head down in his studies, Oldham’s big prop usually comes up with top marks.
Coach Scott Naylor’s choice as player of the year in 2013, Joy twinned rugby with revision last season to earn a masters degree in banking and finance, which led to a top job at the head office of the Yorkshire Building Society in Leeds.
But this latest player to sign a new one-year contract at Whitebank was less than happy with what he produced on the field in 2014.
“To be honest, I was disappointed with myself. I will certainly be striving to be a lot better next season,” said 23-year-old Joy, who felt his failure to repeat his outstanding performances of the previous season was due mainly to a groin injury which severely restricted what he could achieve in pre-season.
He missed the friendly games and the first two league games before playing at Egremont in round three of the Challenge Cup.
Naylor wasn’t surprised that his top gun of 2013 wasn’t as explosive second time around.
“He’s still young for a prop and after his huge season when he first stepped up from the reserves it was always going to be hard to back it up with similar success in year two,” said the Oldham boss.
“Rival coaches remembered the damage he caused the year before and he was a marked man. He handled it well, but he now has to kick-on.
“Like all young forwards, he can’t afford to sit back on his laurels, but he knows that more than anybody and he will continue to push himself to go as far in the sport as he possibly can.
“He has all the right attributes, topped by a superb attitude and backed by a family that will always ensure he is in the right environment to have the best possible chance of going on to become a top-class front-row forward.”
Naylor has every confidence in him to come good again in 2015, but Joy revealed that the boss said he needed to slightly change his style of play to counteract closer marking.
Said Phil: “It was obvious in my first game back, against the Cumbrian amateurs, that things were different.
“We had built a reputation in 2013 for taking teams on down the middle. Rival coaches responded by toughening up their defence around the ruck.
“Scott wanted me to slightly change the way I played and it took me a while to get used to it. Occasionally, I would revert to what I was doing in 2013. It was nothing major, just the odd tweak here and there, but it wasn’t something that came easily to me.
“I should benefit next year from a much better pre-season.
“I’m delighted to sign a new deal because I’ve always been happy at my hometown club and I would like nothing better than to be in a Roughyeds side that finally brings some success to the town after coming so close to doing it on so many occasions in the last ten years.”