Tony on his inform team

Date published: Monday, July 25, 2011

Oldham RL boss Tony Benson has told his in-form players that they are good enough to go all the way to the Co-operative Championship One Grand Final at Warrington in October.

Although they are currently occupying the last play-off spot — seventh in the division — Roughyeds are one of the form teams of the competition, having won four of their last five games and 11 out of 13 at home in all competitions this season.

Keighley came to Whitebank yesterday in second place, but departed on a low after a 36-14 beating by an Oldham side which left the field to the enthusiastic acclaim of its supporters.

“There isn’t another side in the division which would have lived with us on this form,” enthused Benson.

“We are determined to get to the Grand Final again and we have shown enough in recent performances — apart from the lapse at London Skolars where we were narrowly beaten — to indicate that we are fully capable of achieving our goal.”

[singlepic id=821 w=320 h=240 float=left]Benson pointed out that the performance was all the more impressive because of the number of long-term injured players who were there as spectators —- Dave Ellison, Chris Clarke, Matthew Fogarty, Mick Fogerty and Lucas Onyango.

He added: “That’s a fair bit of playing strength sitting on the side, but happily it looks as though we got through the Keighley game relatively unscathed.”

Winger Shaun Robinson was taken off near the end after taking a blow to the head and Mark McCully and Danny Bravo suffered facial gashes after a clash of heads when both were going into a tackle.

Benson said the injuries to McCully and Bravo were superficial, while Robinson was taken off as a precaution because there was another tough challenge ahead with Workington Town due at Whitebank next Sunday.

Two-try full-back Ben Heaton, meanwhile, has revealed that he nearly sat out yesterday’s game following the death of an uncle on Saturday morning.

“When we got the phone call I was in two minds about playing,” he said, “but I talked it over with my dad and he felt I should go out there, give it my best shot and dedicate my performance to my uncle.”

Said club chairman Chris Hamilton: “It takes a lot of bottle for young players to do things like that, and it shows the full extent of Ben’s loyalty to his team mates, his club and his coach.

Roughyeds have signed 19-year-old Warrington Wolves centre Paul Brearley on loan. A Rochdalian who stands 6ft 6in tall, he played as an amateur for Mayfield in his youth before signing for the Super League club two years ago.

“We’ve got him to the end of the season,” said Reserve team coach John Hough, who gave Brearley his debut in the Reserves side which beat Whitehaven 50-14 at Whitebank on Saturday.

Whitebank again stages two more games nest weekend, with the Reserves taking on Leigh Centurions on Saturday (2..30) and the first team entertaining Workington on Sunday, kick off 3pm.