COACHING staff and management alike have expressed the view that one sure way of improving Oldham’s Championship league position this year is to attain a consistent level of performance.
Three games in, the progress report has to be: ‘ Outstanding so far, now keep it up.’
While admitting to being “deeply frustrated” by consecutive two-point losses against Featherstone Rovers and London Broncos, two of the strongest sides in the division, coach Scott Naylor acknowledges that he has a special group of players who will give him everything in pursuit of the consistency he craves.
He said: “This was Featherstone all over again. I have a fantastic group of people who have deserved to get a lot more out of their last two games than two defeats and no points.
“The table shows one win out of three, but never mind a win and a couple of draws; it could so easily have been three wins.
“We’ve deserved to have at least four points now, and maybe even more.
“That gives me mixed feelings. On the one hand I’m extremely proud of the boys and the level of rugby they’ve played at against Featherstone and London; on the other I’m hugely frustrated and disappointed for them.
“I see all the hard work they do during the week, on top of their day jobs, and then the extraordinary commitment they show on game-day for no reward in terms of league points and I feel for them.
“It’s my job now to lift them again, to keep them believing and to keep them performing at the same level.
“If we achieve that consistency we’ll beat most teams in this division. I’ve never coached a side that has played so well in consecutive games and narrowly lost them both.
“We’ve shown we’re good enough to beat anybody in the Championship and that’s a massive positive to take from our first three outings.
“It shows we are doing the right things and moving in the right direction as a club.”
Broncos boss Andrew Henderson added: “I have to credit Oldham. Their enthusiasm and will to win was second to none.
“Their kicking game was exceptional — from Scott Leatherbarrow and David Hewitt in the first half and from Hewitt in the second half when Scott was off injured. He consistently put us in the corners and we couldn’t get out.
“We didn’t have Oldham’s tough mentality and because of that we very nearly got what we deserved.”