SCOTT Naylor lauded the attitude and desire of his ‘incredible’ players after they came within a whisker of turning over Betfred League 1 leaders York City Knights at Bootham Crescent.
The Knights edged home 10-6 but the Roughyeds boss couldn’t contain his pride and his frustration, both in good measure, as he began to look ahead to this Sunday’s season-defining battle with promotion-chasing Bradford Bulls at the Vestacare Stadium (3pm kick-off).
Bulls need to win to stay in the race for the title and automatic promotion and Naylor’s Oldham need the points to thwart the threat of Whitehaven and Hunslet in the jostle for play-off spots.
With so much at stake it should be a gripping contest . . . as was the thriller at Bootham Crescent in which Roughyeds were unlucky not to snatch a memorable win in the last few minutes.
They went 10-0 down, but controlled the second half; had a Luke Hooley try disallowed for obstruction; and then pulled back to 10-6 with a Jack Holmes try, goaled by Hooley.
“This was a game that summed up our season perfectly.
“We had an unbelievable attitude and desire to win the game.
“Every player gave everything he had, but rugby is a cruel game and if you don’t do the basics and you make as many mistakes as we did today it’s difficult to put pressure on opponents and subsequently to win games.
“I have incredible players who never leave anything in the dressing room, but we continue to make far too many mistakes and it has cost us dearly, particularly in the second half of the season.
“Of the top eight teams in the division, our defence is one of the best, but our offence is one of the worst and that’s the reason why.
“It’s so frustrating . . . and I genuinely feel for the lads because they give everything they have in training and in games but they are not getting anything out of it apart from bangs, bruises, cuts and sore bodies.
“Knowing what we could be capable of and then looking at our position in the table is very difficult to take but its of our own doing; it’s certainly not because we are getting beaten by teams who are far better than we are.
“Put simply, we are not giving ourselves a chance to win tight games and it’s very frustrating.
“Everyone who travelled to York to support us must have been impressed by our attitude and our fighting spirit. We have a great set of lads with big hearts and a great attitude.
“They’re all willing to work hard for each other and for the club but we are just short of a bit of calmness and control when we have the ball.”