‘Quality’ the buzz word

Date published: Thursday, November 21, 2013

‘QUALITY’ is the buzz word as Oldham RL Club set their sights on going one better than last season and finally winning promotion in 2014.

With pre-season training now into its second week, coach Scott Naylor and his backroom team have raised the bar in setting standards designed to give the squad every chance of improving on last season’s second-place finish followed by defeat in the play-off final.

“Last season’s winter preparation was good, but this time we’ve got to be even better and we WILL be even better,” said the Roughyeds’ boss.

“Starting right now, in everything we do in pre-season and then taking it into the season proper, we have to improve individually and collectively.

“I include everybody in that, from myself and the entire backroom team right down to the youngest players and the most recent recruits.

“Everything we do must be labelled ‘Quality’ and with that in mind we’ve made changes to some of the things we did in pre-season last year and we’ve also reshaped the working schedules of the backroom staff so that we have more personnel on duty at every training session.

“We were a little bit weak in some aspects of our performances last season. I’m not going into detail, but we’ve identified where we can improve and we’ve looked at ways in which we can provide those improvements and factored them into our winter prep work.

“It was felt necessary to have more members of staff on duty when we are training so that the whole operation can become even more professional than it was last year.”

Head conditioner Mike Hughes, who was in charge of Ireland’s fitness in the World Cup, will spend more time with the Oldham players than he did last season.

The working schedules of other staff members have been rearranged so that, at every training session, Naylor and his No 2 Lee Spencer will have the support of two physiotherapists, an assistant conditioner and a masseur.

Added Naylor: “There will be more people to share the workload, making the whole operation slicker, more productive and more manageable.

“We’ll train at Oasis on Tuesday and Thursday nights, but at different venues on Saturdays, depending on what sort of work we plan to do in any given week.”

Nineteen players are signed on —- 15 from last season’s squad plus new boys Brett Robinson, Paddy Mooney, Ben Wood and Danny Whitmore — and Naylor says he will be in no hurry to add others, preferring instead to take his time and to “see what comes up”.

“I’m keeping four or five spots open for the time being, but there could be further activity before the end of the year,” he said.

“Adam Files and Jon Ford (Salford’s players who were at Whitebank last season on loan or on dual registration) are doing their pre-season work with Salford.

“I have no idea at this stage where we will stand with regard to those two for next season, but we should know something over the course of the next few weeks.

“To sum up, I’m delighted with the quality and the numbers of the players who are already in training.

“Pre-season has got off to a good start and when you look at where we are now with where we were this time last year there is absolutely no comparison.”

* A joint ORSA-Higginshaw ARLFC Race Night raised more than £1,000 with each organisation taking £500.