‘We’re almost there’ — ScottDate published: Monday, September 7, 2015
SCOTT Naylor and his Roughyeds stand on the threshold of a top-two promotion decider at Whitebank, probably against Keighley, on Sunday week, September 20.
It’s still mathematically possible for such plans to go awry, but it would require an Oldham side that’s won 18 of its 21 league games to lose at Oxford on Saturday and Keighley to beat Hemel Stags at home by about 100 points.
“We’re almost there,” said coach Scott Naylor after Roughyeds’ stunning 28-16 defeat of Swinton Lions at Whitebank.
It was achieved without pack leader Adam Neal and vice-captain Sammy Gee, who were suspended, and with Will Hope on debut at loose-forward and Liam Thompson at prop, starting there for the first time in his career.
Added Naylor: “It’s my opinion that Swinton are as good as we are. It wouldn’t have taken much for our league positions to be reversed. They have quality players who work as a unit and their coach, John Duffy, has done a brilliant job with them.
“Today was immense for us as a club and as a team and to be honest I was worried before the game because I know how good they are and we were meeting them without two key players.
“All I can say now is that the 17 who played deserve a giant-sized pat on the back for their incredible effort and the way they went about the job.
“Swinton were well on top when they took the lead at 12-10, but the way we fought back and then finished them off ruthlessly was similar to what we’ve done a few times this season and I can’t speak too highly of them for doing that.
“I don’t normally talk about individual players, but considering it was Will Hope’s first game in 12 months I thought he was great. He looked as though he had been playing for us for two or three years and that’s good news for us because we hope to resign him for next year.
“To have won 18 games out of 21 and still not be mathematically sure of finishing top shows how tough and competitive this league has been this year.”