“Outstanding effort, dumb rugby”

Date published: Tuesday, October 7, 2014

SCOTT Naylor wasn’t looking for hard-luck stories after Hunslet’s 17-16 extra-time win in the Championship One Grand Final.

It was Oldham’s seventh Grand Final defeat going back to 2001 and it followed Roughyds’ wins by the narrowest of margins in their previous two games against Hunslet —- 24-23 in the league at Whitebank and 25-24 in the play-offs at their ground.
They were three desperately tight games against evenly-matched sides, but the one that really mattered went to the Hawks.
Summing up in four words, Naylor said: “Outstanding effort, dumb rugby.”
Oldham’s team boss, who has suffered Grand Final defeats with Oldham in each of his first two seasons as a head coach, added: “To be level at full time was unbelievable, seeing that from the first minute we had constantly given Hunslet the ball.
“You can’t do that against good teams.
“Losing Dale Bloomfield with concussion didn’t help because it meant we couldn’t use our bench as we would have liked to.
“But that’s not why we lost. We lost because we didn’t have enough ball and, at a guess, I would say we spent 75 per cent of the game in our own half of the field.
“I knew it would be close, but we didn’t play anything like as well as we can play, and we came close to getting away with it.
“What you have to do in order to win tight games like this is to complete your sets, keep mistakes to an absolute minimum and put in a good kick and chase. That way, you keep your opponents pinned in near their try line, which is exactly what Hunslet did to us.
“Neutrals will say it was a brilliant game, but to me it was a game I didn’t want to watch — a game of Hunslet attack and Oldham defence.
“We kept giving Hunslet possession and position, and the fact that we were still with them after 80 minutes was testimony to our fitness and willingness to work.
“It took its toll later when Liam Hood began to open us up and when George Tyson made three or four try-saving tackles.
“We can’t put it down to youth any more, either.
“We were young last year, but now we’re a year older; we were in our second final; we were unbeaten at home; and we have players who know how to play this game.
“Having said all that, we had a dig, tried hard — and came close to winning. I thought Steve Roper’s drop goal attempt was going in. It really is about small margins.
“The lads have been outstanding all year. We have a mutual respect. I have time for each of them and they all play the game with me.”