DESPITE relegation, Scott Naylor is staying at Oldham as head coach . . . with a pledge that he will do all in his power to get Roughyeds back in the Kingstone Press Championship as quickly as possible.
“As head coach I feel responsible for what happened last season and a big incentive to me personally is to put that right by getting us back up,” said the former Bradford Bulls and England centre star, whose new deal covers the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
By then he will have had seven seasons at Oldham and will be one of the longest-serving coaches outside Super League.
“In all his time here Scott has had the same kind of desire he always had as a player,” said club chairman Chris Hamilton.
“While 2017 was a difficult season for a number of reasons, Scott’s new contract once again demonstrates my continuing support for him.
“The challenges that lie ahead in 2018 will be tough, no doubt about that, but with the squad signings we’ve already made and others we are hoping to make, we are hopeful that we will be challenging at the top end of League 1 and that we’ll enjoy some further success.”
Naylor’s new deal follows the re-signings of senior forwards Adam Neal, Phil Joy, Danny Langtree and club captain Gareth Owen . . . four of his on-field lieutenants who had previously said, with others, that they wanted to stick together with an opportunity to make amends for the disappointments of 2017.
It has now emerged that players and coaches got together on the Tuesday night after the defeat at Swinton — the loss that condemned them to relegation — and invited discussion about future plans.
Said Naylor: “It was only 48 hours after Swinton so it was still raw, but most of the lads said they wanted us all to stick together.
“Although we still had one more game to play, the majority wanted us to stay together as a group and to go all out next season to get back up at the first attempt.
“That says a lot about them. They’re a good bunch.
“Last season was a strange one. We had all those injuries; dual-reg could have been better; we had bad luck on the field; we couldn’t finish teams off from winning positions — all those were factors.
“Nevertheless, I felt responsible — and how nice would it be to see us bouncing back into the Championship ?”.
BATLEY Bulldogs have confirmed the signing of Michael Ward, who leaves Roughyeds with the club’s best wishes after an eight-year association with his home-town club.
He began as a 16-year-old winger in the reserves and developed into a tearaway prop forward with more than 150 senior appearances behind him.
Said club chairman Chris Hamilton: “Michael wanted to stay in the Championship and we respect his decision.
“He kept us informed and went about it the right way. We wish him well and thank him for all he did for the club over a long number of years.”