HAVING seen his side go 10-0 up; then concede four unanswered tries, three of them in six minutes; and then blank out the division’s top scorers for the entire second half, most of it with 12 men, Scott Naylor was again left bemused and baffled by his side’s performance against Bradford Bulls.
“It’s frustrating in the extreme because, yet again, we showed absolutely fantastic attitude and commitment for most of the game while going through one of those spells in which we constantly give opponents opportunities to score tries against us,” said the Oldham boss.
“It happened to a lesser degree at York and it also happened against Workington (home), Hunslet and Keighley and it’s all down to US, nobody else.
“It would be a different story if we were getting well beaten by better sides, but we’re not. We’re beating ourselves and not giving ourselves a chance because of these lapses.”
Roughyeds trailed 24-10 at half time and then, in the 50th minute, had prop Ben Davies sent off for dissent.
Five minutes from the end they were reduced to ten men when Luke Nelmes was also shown red, for throwing a punch, and Luke Hooley was sin-binned for a trip.
Despite these handicaps, Scott’s men dominated the second half; scored the only points when Adam Neal sent in Craig Briscoe for a try which Hooley goaled; had a try by Hooley disallowed for a double movement; had both Matty Wilkinson and Danny Langtree held up over the Bulls line; and received a massive ovation from their fans at the end.
“Our supporters appreciated what a fantastic attitude there is within the side. Our hard work and never-say-die attitude enabled us to keep a side like the Bulls scoreless for all the second half despite losing the three players.
“How fantastic was that ? However, we can’t ignore the fact that in the 20 minutes before half-time we gave them far too much field position and opportunities to score tries, and we suffered the consequences.
“You can’t chase down a top side from 14 points down.
“We can’t keep putting in performances of amazing effort and strong attitude and then getting nothing out of it because we go through a bad patch that gives our opponents the initiative.
“Until we put that right we’ll continue to have the same conversations with the players on training nights.
“Our attitude and willingness to work hard for each other and for the team is absolutely faultless.
“Our professionalism is faultless, too. But there are spells in a game when we invite opponents to come at us, yet nobody invites us in, and that’s why we’re losing close games.
“I also thought we got a few tough calls, such as Hooley’s no-try and things like that, but in the main its down to ourselves and whether we can get rid of those lapses which are costing us heavily.
“We need to look at ourselves. The big positive to come out of the weekend is that we still have a chance to put things right on the last day of the season and, hopefully, into the play-offs.”
With Scott serving the last game of his touchline ban and his assistant Pete Carey off duty due to sickness, former No 2 Lee Spencer came out of retirement to provide hands-on support in dressing room and touchline technical area.