“Never been prouder”….Naylor

Date published: Monday, September 15, 2014
SCOTT Naylor has represented England, won cup and league medals and played at Old Trafford, Murrayfield, Twickenham and the Millennium Stadium but Oldham’s 25-24 play-off win at Hunslet, he said, gave him the biggest buzz.
Revealing emotion for the first time in his two seasons at the club, he looked up to fans at the end, thrust a clenched fist into the night sky and joined in celebrations with a jig.
“I’ve been in rugby league 25 years, but I’ve never been prouder of a bunch of lads,” said the Roughyeds’ boss.
“It was a great game and a terrific advert for the division. On paper, you would have fancied Hunslet, but the boys had big hearts and loads of spirit and they did themselves and the club proud.
“We knew how to beat Hunslet, but actually doing it was a different matter. 
“There were times when we did what we had to do and times when we didn’t and that was reflected in how the game swung first one way and then the other.
“But to do a full shift at their day jobs and then to go out and put on a performance like that was a great achievement.
“Although we got to the final last year, we didn’t hit the right notes in the play-offs, but for starters this year, this was as good as it gets
“We gave Hunslet too much field position in the first half and you can’t do that against a good team without getting punished.
“We spoke at half-time about stepping up the tempo, getting on the front foot and testing them out under the sort of pressure we had to withstand earlier.
“Defensively, we went to another level, but in the second half we stopped helping them on their way and made sure that any ground they made they earned.
“Steve Nield made some great kick returns, which got us on the front foot, but credit to all 17 boys, six of whom came up through the second team.
“We don’t have the money or the resources to sign up players like Hunslet do, but we have a good, young squad that is still learning. As each year goes by we are making progress.
“The boys coming off the bench were enormous — all four of them. They got us rolling forward and you could almost see the self-belief spreading through the side.
“Nathan Mason, Michael Ward, Kenny Hughes and George Tyson took us to a different level and when we peaked in that terrific spell after half-time Hunslet couldn’t live with us.
“We’ve no new injuries and by playing on a Friday we’ve got an extra two days in which to get ready for our next challenge at York.”