‘We can do It’ Says Chris

Date published: Monday, September 23, 2013

WHEN beating London Skolars 64-8, Roughyeds produced the perfect response to last week’s blip, and it was no more than coach Scott Naylor and chairman Chris Hamilton expected.

With a final now beckoning — and the prospect of promotion only 80 minutes away — the chairman has every confidence in the team to finish the season on a high in the play-off re-match with Rochdale at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday (2pm kick off).

The 64-8 hammering of London Skolars was Oldham’s highest score of the season and one which will take them into the final with confidence sky high.

The chairman, who has suffered heartbreaking defeats in five finals — 2001, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 — said: “This is the year we really believe we can do it.

“A performance like this (against London) was coming from the moment the players left the field so disappointed last Sunday. They were disappointed with themselves and with how they had played.

“Every time they have suffered such a setback this season they have responded positively. Since Scott Naylor came to the club the work ethic and the culture in the dressing room has changed beyond recognition.

“The players are chomping at the bit to get back at Rochdale in the final. We want to do a job on them, make no mistake.”

Echoing his chairman’s comments, coach Naylor said: “We looked like our old selves. In the dressing room before the game you could sense that we were a lot more relaxed than we were the week before. There were smiles on faces. We were ready to play rugby.

“We were confident and relaxed, while still appreciating that we had a big job to do against a very good London Skolars side.

“Once we got out there we only did the basics, but we did them well and we did them at speed. Everybody did his job and did it well, and when that happens we’ll always be a difficult team to beat. When we concentrate on basics we are a very good team.

“Lewis Palfrey’s kicking game was first class, but the entire team did themselves proud. The very least they deserve is to be in the final. They have worked for this since the night we first came together last November.

“Having said all that, I feel for Skolars coach Joe Mbu, who is doing a fantastic job in London. He had to play some busted players today and they were unfortunate to come up against a side like ours that was itching to put right the wrongs of last week.

“His players never let their heads drop. They were unlucky to lose at Rochdale on the first play-off weekend and then they had to make another long journey up here today after losing Dylan Skee at Hemel last week with a broken ankle.

“I hope Joe wins the Championship One coach of the year award on Thursday because he deserves it.”