Pat on the back for the debut boy

Date published: Monday, July 28, 2014
THE boy did well . . . and he’ll only get better.

That was Scott Naylor’s verdict on the debut of Oldham new boy Gareth Owen in the thrill-a-minute 24-23 win against Hunslet Hawks at Whitebank.
Hooker Owen, 22, was thrown in at the deep end after only one training session with his new team mates on Saturday.
He has signed on loan from Salford Red Devils until the end of the season to compensate for the loss through injury of Adam Files and Kenny Hughes.
Oldham-born Owen, who lives in Moorside, signed for Salford from Waterhead several years ago and is well known to the Roughyeds’ head coach Naylor, his assistant Lee Spencer and many of the players at Whitebank.
He has made more than 30 Super League appearances for Salford, but was recently out on loan to Championship side Sheffield Eagles.
Said Naylor: “Gareth played really well, especially when you take into account that it was his debut after only one training run with us and that it was his first game in four weeks.
“The way he plays fits well with us. He looked like his old self and he’s going to get even better as he settles in with us.
“I know him well, and so does ‘Spanner’ (assistant boss Lee Spencer), from our time together at Salford.
“His fitness has never been in doubt, as shown when he did 55 minutes out of the 80 in his first game for a few weeks.”
Centre David Cookson went to hospital after the game with an arm injury, but fears that he might have suffered a fracture were unfounded.
He has suffered a dislocation with nerve and tendon damage and will nowbe checked out further at training by club physiotherapist Lyndsey Watkins.
Naylor, meanwhile, has backed his players for ‘standing up for themselves’ in a niggly second-half against Hunslet.
George Tyson and Hunslet prop Michael Haley were sin-binned for fighting after players of both sides had traded punches.
Michael Ward was on the receiving end of at least two high tackles which were penalised after himself being placed on report for a similar challenge.
Said Naylor: “The referee and touchjudges got it right when Tyson and their man were shown yellow, in that play resumed with a penalty to us. In other words, it was their man who made the first contact.
“I’ve no problem with a player from each side getting yellow so long as the officials identify who started it in the first place.
“I don’t want my players to start anything, but at the same time we’ve got to be prepared to stand up for ourselves and not be pushed around.”