Pack men on a pedestal

Date published: Monday, March 9, 2015
SCOTT Naylor put his pack men on a pedestal after their huge performance in seeing off new boys Coventry Bears for the second time in eight days.

Lewis Palfrey, at stand-off, had an excellent second half to win the chairman’s official man-of-the-match award, but Naylor wouldn’t be shifted on his view that his stand-out performers were all in the forwards.
“The pack was outstanding,” he said. “The lads off the bench (all four of them forwards) were great, and for me each member of the pack deserved man of the match.”
Take a bow, then, the starting six of Adam Neal, Gareth Owen, Phil Joy, Josh Crowley, George Tyson and Liam Thompson and the four super subs, Adam Files, Kenny Hughes, Michael Learmonth and Michael Ward.
Added head coach Naylor: “The pitch was again wet and heavy but, just like last week, we adapted to it extremely well.
“We were especially good in the first half. We carried the ball well, kicked well and put Coventry under a lot of pressure when they were coming away from their own line. It was nice to see.
“We forced them into errors and then scored points on the back of that hard work. That’s good rugby in anybody’s book.
“After a poor start to the second half, by now playing up the slope and into the wind, we picked up our game and in the last half hour I thought we played really well.
“We played more expansively and with more freedom and scored some good tries. We had done the hard stuff earlier and that enabled us to open out a bit.
“It’s difficult sometimes to beat the same opponents so convincingly in consecutive matches. It’s as much a mental thing as a physical one. But we overcame that obstacle too, and I was particularly pleased by that.”
Palfrey also paid tribute to his forwards when receiving his man-of-the-match award.
“They were tremendous,” he said. “They made my job and Steve Roper’s job so much easier, but they always do, nothing new in that.”
The Oldham captain had words of encouragement for new boys Coventry, saying they would cause a few teams problems in the forthcoming league campaign “if they tweak a few things and smarten up here and there.”