Step in the right direction – Scott Naylor

Date published: Tuesday, May 6, 2014
LITTLE more than a year ago, Oxford won 18-16 at Whitebank on a dark day for Oldham that coach Scott Naylor firmly believes was the catalyst for a stunningly consistent run of 11 wins and a draw in the remaining 13 league games of the regular season.

Twelve months on, he thinks the bitterly-disappointing 38-12 reverse at Hunslet Hawks on Good Friday could similarly kick his Roughyeds into life.
“A kick up the backside can sometimes do a lot of good,” said the Oldham boss after a Roughyeds side showing several changes smashed Oxford, scored 48 points and never looked in serious trouble against a Blues side that celebrated a great win at York City Knights on its previous trip north.
Added Scott: “We learned a lot about ourselves at Hunslet. We changed training slightly with the intention of producing a more consistent brand of rugby and it was pleasing and rewarding to see a lot of the stuff we have been working on behind the scenes proving useful against Oxford.
“This was a huge improvement on our Hunslet performance. We showed a lot more intensity and desire in what was definitely a step in the right direction.
“A lot of things pleased me and I would say that in the first half we came up with the best 40 minutes we have put together as a team since the season began.
“Having said that, we let them in for 28 points and that’s a big no-no. There are areas of our game we still need to improve on hugely, not least the need to play for the full 80 which we need to fix before it becomes a big problem.”
Oldham scored all their points in the first hour to lead 48-18 before Oxford came more into it in the final quarter to score two late tries without reply.
“We became a bit loose in the second half, but I’ve no complaints,” continued Naylor. “Oxford were a team in form and they were always going to take some beating.
“Against some teams, Whitebank can be worth a few points to us, but not to a team like Oxford with all their Oldham connections and with so many players who used to be here.
“I was really pleased with the result and the performance, so its upwards and onwards.
“We’ve come through injury free and we’ve got a couple of weeks to prepare for York’s visit, by which time Adam Files could be back in contention after injury and I could have as many as 24 players from whom to select the side.”