Team updates ahead of Grand Final

Date published: Thursday, October 2, 2014
OLDHAM’S Grand Final line-up won’t necessarily be the one that got them to the big end-of-season shindig at Headingley.
The 17 who pipped Hunslet 25-24 and then raised the play-off bar again to win 31-12 at York will be widely tipped by supporters and pundits to go again for the third game in a row.
Scott Naylor insists, however, that it won’t be make-your-mind-up time until Friday or Saturday.
“We’ve got a couple of players nursing bumps and bruises, but I’m expecting everybody to come through,” said the Roughyeds’ boss.
“Having said that, I won’t be averse to doing some tweaking and making the odd change if I think I need to.
“I’ve some fresh lads just raring to be given another chance.”
Naylor would appear to be doing a bit of juggling, telling Roughyeds fans as much as he can while all the while keeping Hunslet coach Barry Eaton guessing.
Naylor will pick from the 17 who ripped up the play-off form guide to win away against teams finishing first and second in the league, plus Mo Agoro, Sam Gee, Mark Hobson, Ben Wood, Paddy Mooney and, if he gets the all-clear after ankle-ligament damage, Brett Robinson.
Provisional squad (to be cut to 18): Nield, Clay, Cookson, Ford, Bloomfield, Roper, Palfrey, Boults, Owen, Joy, Langtree, Crowley, Thompson, Ward, Hughes, Mason, Tyson, Agoro, Gee, Hobson, Wood, Mooney, Robinson.
Oldham will warm up in brand-new tops, sponsored by Housing Association ‘Regenda’ and carrying a picture of four-year-old Joseph ‘Joe Joe’ Atherton, a little boy who is mentally and physically disabled.
The club has adopted his family’s appeal for help, and ‘Joe Joe’ will be Roughyeds’ big-game mascot, leading out the team in his wheelchair in front of thousands of supporters and in full view of the Sky Sports cameras.
Adam Files, the young hooker who has been out for most of the season with what was thought to be a serious knee injury, has been cleared to resume full training after his latest scan indicated there was nothing wrong.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Naylor. “We fully expected him to be going in for surgery, but instead he’s been told he can start training again.
“He spent his first session with our conditioner, and then he was back into it and seemingly going well.
“We’ll give him a rehab programme over the close season and, hopefully, he will be fully primed and ready to go when everybody reports back for training.”
* Fans are reminded that ORSA are holding a pre-Grand Final quiz, starting at 8pm tonight at Higginshaw ARLFC , St Stephen’s Street, Oldham. Star prize is a chance to win an accumulated jackpot of £120.