FOR the fourth time in the last five Betfred League 1 games, Oldham will have no dual-reg representation in the squad to take on Newcastle Thunder at the Vestacare Stadium on Sunday (kick-off 3pm).
The one exception was in the 32-18 home win against Keighley Cougars on April 15 when Salford Red Devils prop Daniel Murray gave the Roughyeds ‘middle men’ a helping hand.
There was no such assistance, however, in league games against Bradford Bulls, Hunslet and Workington.
In stark contrast, the Cumbrians had three dual-reg pack men from Leigh Centurions in Nick Gregson, Jack Blagbrough and Jonah Cunningham, but it didn’t stop Oldham’s very own middle unit, comprising of Phil Joy, Jack Spencer, Liam Bent, Adam Jones and Luke Nelmes, producing a stirring performance to plant the foundations for a 32-10 triumph.
Bent and Joy scored tries; Spencer led from the front with a superb performance; and Jones and Nelmes both did their club proud in giving Roughyeds a vital advantage where it counted most.
They did it too without injured props Adam Neal, who suffered a head knock in the win against Keighley, and Ben Davies, who has been out all season with a long-standing back complaint.
Neither will be fit for weekend when Scott Naylor’s forwards will again paddle their own canoe as they have been doing, in the main, for the past few weeks.
“No dual-reg — yet again — and that’s disappointing,”
was the only comment from Roughyeds head coach Scott Naylor.
He confirmed that, apart from Neal and Davies, everybody else in the squad was fit and available for selection.
It means he will name his provisional 19-man squad from a group of 24 — the 17 who won at Workington plus Kyran Johnson, Jack Holmes, Steven Nield, Danny Rasool, Zack McComb, Ben West and the only extra forward, Craig Briscoe.
The group includes three on-loan men, but they are all young backs — full-back Luke Hooley (19) and winger Lee Kershaw (18), both from Wakefield Trinity, and centre Kieran Gill (22) from Castleford Tigers.
Roughyeds will be looking to build on their impressive performance at Workington against a workmanlike Thunder outfit that currently sits within the play-off four, albeit on the same number of league points as Naylor’s men but with a better for-and-against record.
They will travel south in confident mood, having already won on the road at London Skolars, Coventry Bears and North Wales Crusaders.