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Focus on Scott, our long-serving head coach

ROGER HALSTEAD continues his new series in which he is talking to players, fans and staff members to provide supporters with an insight into people whose lives have been touched by Oldham RLFC.

In his second feature he talks to SCOTT NAYLOR who is in his seventh season as head coach of Roughyeds and is one of the longest-serving coaches in the game.


WHATEVER Scott Naylor achieves, or doesn’t achieve, in his coaching career he will be forever remembered in Rugby League as a member of that fabulous Bradford Bulls side that played in numerous Super League Grand Finals and Challenge Cup finals in the early years of this century.

Scott, a strong centre, played in three of each.

He was a winner on one of his three “special” nights at Old Trafford and twice victorious in Challenge Cup finals, first at Murrayfield in 2000 and then at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff in 2003.

His other Challenge Cup final appearance was at Twickenham in 2001 so he never did play at Wembley, a similar disappointment to that of generations of Oldhamers who have never had the opportunity to watch their team in the national stadium.

Realists will accept that in the foreseeable future a Challenge Cup final appearance will be out of reach for most clubs outside Super League, but the new 1895 Cup, to be contested this season for the first time, could be a different proposition.

Over to you, Scott and the boys !

Now aged 47, the Roughyeds boss doesn’t talk easily about his sporting achievements in the Bulls glory days (preferring instead to keep them in his memory bank and those of his wife Claire and daughters Megan and Anna), but it was a career he can look back on with immense pride and personal satisfaction.

At Odsal he was surrounded by big-money signings from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, but the lad from Leigh was an automatic centre choice and one of the first names on the team sheet between 1999 and 2003 when he represented the Bulls at Super League level on 128 occasions and scored more than 50 tries.

As well as three Grand Finals at Old Trafford and those Challenge Cup finals in Edinburgh, London and Cardiff, he played for England against Australia, Fiji, Ireland and New Zealand and also turned out for Bulls in their 2002 World Club Challenge win against NRL Premiers Newcastle.

I’ll wager many of the players he now coaches at the Vestacare Stadium won’t have a clue about the boss’s playing career. Scott certainly won’t have told them. I can promise you that. He’s far more concerned about the development of players currently under his wing than he is about reflecting on what he did in the old days.

I did manage to get out of him instances of his best and worst moments of his playing career.

The best, he said, was the Grand Final of 2001 when Bulls hammered Wigan, his first professional club, 37-6. He didn’t say, but I can tell you, that he completely blotted out his opposite number, Aussie Test star Steve Renouf.

The Bulls back line that night was: Tevita Vaikona, Scott Naylor, Graham Mackay, Leon Pryce.

Bulls, and Scott, were back at Old Trafford a year later against St Helens and it was to produce his worst sporting memory because a late Sean Long drop goal gave Saints a 19-18 win.

Scott was the only Englishman that night in a Bulls three-quarter line that read like this: Tevita Vaikona, Scott Naylor, Brandon Costin, Lesley Vainikola.

There was a similar situation in the Challenge Cup final of 2003 when Bulls beat Leeds 22-20 with this back division: Tevita Vaikona, Scott Naylor, Shontayne Hape, Lesley Vainikola.
The half-backs were Leon Pryce and former Oldham youngster Paul Deacon.

He paused and considered for a moment when I asked who was his toughest opponent before answering ‘Keith Senior’.

His Bradford career over, he returned to his former club Salford where he brought down the curtain on his illustrious playing career and cut his teeth in coaching.

He took his first head coach’s job at Oldham in the autumn of 2012 following the departure of Tony Benson and his short-term ambition is to guide Roughyeds to promotion this year.
Long term ? To see Oldham consolidate in the Betfred Championship.

He still lives in home-town Leigh with Claire and his girls and he loves playing golf, cooking, enjoying Japanese food and supporting Liverpool Football Club.

“You can blame my Dad for that,” he said. “I’ve been supporting them since I was about seven years old.

And the man he would have most liked to invite to dinner ? Mohammed Ali.

As a player Scott was proud, tough, reliable, guaranteed to give 100 per cent every game, a loyal team mate and a player who would always give his employers value for money.

He didn’t know how to play any other way . . . and those are the self-same qualities he instils in the players who are under his tutelage today.

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Club Cash

AS you all know from your own experiences these are tough times for everybody, but we believe you will agree that OLDHAM RLFC is taking massive inspiration from the fabulous NHS and other key workers in tackling Covid head-on, while looking forward positively to the 2021 season and better times ahead thanks to the outstanding work now being done to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible.

Nevertheless, we have to face facts and be realistic enough to accept that the club urgently needs every pound that is currently coming in from whatever source. One of those sources is our Club Cash lottery and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who support us on this. A lot of you who used to pay our collectors on the doorstep have responded to our suggestions on how to pay by different methods and we are extremely grateful for that. Thanks again. You will never know how much difference your contributions make.

Alas, our income from the lottery has dropped by more than 50 per cent over the course of the pandemic and that would be a huge blow financially at any time let alone a time of unprecedented hardship because of the pandemic. It really is a situation we seriously need to address.

With that in mind the prize fund for the duration of the latest national lockdown will be temporarily reduced from February 10.

You will still be able to win a £1,000 first prize, plus £100, £50, £25 and ten £10 prizes every week, while continuing to provide vital support for the club and it will only cost you £1 a week. You can’t get a decent coffee for that, but the difference it makes to the club when multiplied a few times over and then multiplied again by 52 – the number of weeks in the financial year – is of major significance.

If you can help us at all — for £1 a week — it would be hugely appreciated by everyone with Oldham RL Club at heart. The prize structure still represents good value for money for an outlay of £1.

To those who are already members and help us accordingly, we very much hope to retain your support at this extremely difficult time.

Should you wish to play but don’t, due to the pausing of cash collection rounds, we have other options available, which you can discuss with our lottery administrator, John McAndrew on 07980129541 or from the club on 07904 898177.

Alternatively, you can send an email to: mcandrewj@aol.com or to: enquiries@roughyeds.co.uk

The prize fund will be increased back to previous levels as soon as latest lockdowns are released. Please watch our website and social media platforms for further announcements.

Finally, if you want more information about the lottery or you wish to discuss your membership please contact one of the numbers given above.

A huge thank-you to you all.

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