New challenge in training

Date published: Thursday, January 2, 2014

OLDHAM Rugby League players swapped the training pitch for the boxing ring on Saturday as part of their preparations for the 2014 season.

Under the command of staff at Eric Noi’s Oldham Boxing and Personal Development Centre in Greaves Street they enjoyed what coach Scott Naylor described as a “brilliant” session which challenged his young squad both mentally and physically.

Naylor and his No 2 Lee Spencer took a back seat as staff at the boxing club did their bit to ensure that Roughyeds will be punching above their weight in the forthcoming Kingstone Press Championship One campaign.

“The lads did a spot of sparring, but there was a lot more to it than that,” said Naylor, who was hugely impressed with the centre’s facilities and the expertise of their staff.

He added: “One of the centre’s coaches, Tommy, ran the session and it was great for the lads to hear a different voice and to be put through different routines.

“Tommy’s session was great — ┬áit got the players’ brains working as well as their muscles and they had the use of state-of-the-art facilities that helped to make it an extremely rewarding hour and a half.

“Our thanks go to the centre and its staff for providing an experience from which the squad will derive a lot of benefit as part of their pre-season programme.”

As part-time professionals, the Roughyeds’ squad normally train on Tuesday and Thursday evenings as well as Saturday mornings, but this week they will be given time off on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day night and resume operations next Saturday.

“We’ve been working hard for several weeks,” added Naylor. “The value and importance of pre-season work can’t be over-estimated. It’s the basis for everything that follows throughout the season and it’s vital that, individually and collectively, we gain maximum benefit from everything we do.

“All the lads are training hard and the new boys are fitting in well.

“Danny Whitmore and Ben Wood know all about ‘Spanner’ (Spencer) and me from our days at Salford together, while the other new signings — Brett Robinson, Paddy Mooney and Jake Shoel — have quickly settled into the sort of stuff we do and the expectations we have of the players.

“Once we are into the New Year our thoughts will turn more specifically to the warm-up games we have coming up in February.”

Two pre-season games have been announced so far —- Barrow away on February 2 and Swinton at Whitebank on February 9.