Palfrey gunning for goals

Date published: Tuesday, June 23, 2015
LEWIS Palfrey’s six goals at Swinton kept him in second place and hot on the heels of Barrow’s Josh Ward in the race to finish as top League One marksman.

At this half-way point in the league season, Oldham’s stand-off and captain has landed 47 goals — three fewer than Ward, but eight more than Gloucester’s Matt Bradley with whom he will be in competition in Saturday’s clash at the Prince of Wales Stadium in Cheltenham (3pm kick off).
Bradley finished second last season behind York’s Ben Reynolds, with Palfrey down in fifth place because he handed goalkicking duties to Steve Roper in the latter part of the season while he continued to captain the side despite a groin injury.
A year on, and now fully fit again after surgery, Palfrey’s personal targets for the second half of the season are to lead Oldham to promotion at the third attempt and to finish as League One’s top goalkicker.
The value of a reliable marksman was never more clearly demonstrated than in Sunday’s 32-26 win at Sedgley Park when both sides scored five tries but, unusually in modern-day rugby league, Palfrey’s six goals included three penalties.
Unless there are very obvious reasons for opting to ‘go for goal’ — like Palfrey’s first penalty on Sunday when there were only seconds of the first half remaining — the modern way is to retain possession from the free kick and to continue to apply pressure in the quest for a try.
Roughyeds twice bucked the trend in the last few minutes of a tight game at Sedgley, first when Jordan James was penalised for an offence at the play-the-ball with seven minutes left and Scott Naylor’s men 28-20 in the lead.
Palfrey took the safer option, kicked the goal and got the ball back from the restart
He then used the same tactic again when Mike Morrison was sanctioned for what referee Andy Sweet deemed to be a similar offence with only two minutes left.
Oldham have now accrued 403 points from 11 games — more than any other team in the division, although some have a game in hand.
They will be taking nothing for granted at Gloucester, however, given that the men from the West Country held Roughyeds to 33-30 at Whitebank on May 3 and gave Barrow a similar fright last Saturday in losing 26-18 at Craven Park.
Included in their side were several new faces, among them former Hunslet winger Lee Mapals and centre Edwin Okanga-Ajwang, who played four games for Oldham last season while on loan from Salford.
League One leading scorers:
Goals: Ward (Barrow) 50, PALFREY (OLDHAM) 47, Bradley (Gloucester) 39, Johnson (North Wales) 34, Crook (Rochdale) 33.
Points: Ward 112, PALFREY 111, Crook 107, Bradley 98, Handforth (Keighley) 80.
Tries: White (Keighley) 12, Smith (North Wales) 11, Handforth 11, Crook 10, Robinson (Swinton) 10, HOLMES (OLDHAM) 9, Mossop (Barrow) 9, Craig (Newcastle) 9, Yates (Rochdale) 9.
Oldham’s top try scorers in all competitions are Adam Clay (15), Jack Holmes (11), George Tyson (10), Josh Crowley (8), Jon Ford (7) and Danny Langtree (5).