What the acting boss had to say

Date published: Monday, September 3, 2012

MARTIN Roden called for another big effort in defence at Gateshead — and he got that and a whole lot more.

A ten-try 56-12 romp on the last day of the regular season gave him his second win in three games as Oldham’s caretaker boss and, thanks to Doncaster’s demolition job on London Skolars, earned the Roughyeds a crack at the play-offs.

Roden couldn’t hide his pride at a job well done, but he wasn’t for allowing the club’s highest score of the season to conceal the fact that Thunder twice got over Oldham’s line to score tries which he described as “softies”.

He said: “In the main we defended exceptionally well and that was pleasing because, since day one, everything I have been working on has been centred on defending.

“We’ve got a real desire to defend now and that was in evidence again here.

“The lads want to get up and tackle people and put in the effort for each other and as far as I’m concerned that is an absolute minimum requirement for anybody who wears the Oldham shirt.

“It’s all about line unison, aggression and urgency. We had it against Workington and we had it again here. I was really pleased with that.

“Nevertheless, we allowed them to score a cheap try after half an hour. That disappointed me a lot.

“Within the standards I am trying to set it was unacceptable to do that and that was what we talked about at half-time.

“The target for the second half was to nil them, but one of their big guys scored near the end, and I was fuming. We led 52-6 at the time, but it was another soft try and one we shouldn’t have conceded.

“Individually, there were lots of good performances all over the field and in the first half, when Thunder were at their most competitive, we relied heavily on our left-side attack where Michael Ward and Mark Brocklehurst came through with flying colours.

“I was keen to retain that partnership after the Workington game because they lock up the left side of the field defensively, but they also play well together on attack and make it pay, as they did again in this game.

“As I said during the week I didn’t want to be hearing the same old excuses and tales of what we ‘should have’ done.

“I must admit, though, that with ten minutes left when Phil Joy scored to take us out to 52-6 I allowed myself the luxury of telling the lads on the bench that this was how we ‘should have’  been playing all season.”