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Honesty the best policy

MATT Diskin’s interview honesty which touched a chord with Chris Hamilton was also evident when the former Batley boss faced the media.

The message that came through loud and clear was that his first head coach job’s with the Bulldogs was no bed of roses or, as Matt himself called it, “a baptism of fire.”

He talked of his mistakes, the lessons he learned, the difficulties he had in moving from a full-time environment with Leeds Rhinos and Bradford Bulls to part-time rugby at Batley.

In more than 50 years of attending this type of media briefing, I don’t think I’ve ever previously come across an incoming coach who spoke so honestly, so passionately and with so much desire to come up to expectations, writes ROGER HALSTEAD.

This 37-year-old father of five, not the first top-drawer hooker to come out of Dewsbury, made the point that he was fortunate to be in a position in which he didn’t have to rely on a wage from rugby.

It was, he said, a passion rather than a job — a passion that extends beyond his commitment to Championship rugby and still involves him in the community game in his native Heavy Woollen district.

He’s been active there since he first turned up at the Dewsbury Moor club when he was eight. By the time he was 16 he had signed for Leeds Rhinos and was coaching – yes, coaching at 16 – in his local community.

Apart from a brief reference to his most memorable year – 2004 — there was no mention at the Vestacare Stadium briefing of his 300 and more Super League games, his Grand Final appearances or his pride when he represented Great Britain.

‘Honesty’ was the key word . . . he had no hesitation, for example, in confirming that it wasn’t his decision to leave Batley and that when he was told he wasn’t to be offered a new deal he was ‘disappointed’.

Mistakes ? One, he said, was to attempt to rush in changes in the Bulldogs’ style of play and he realised now that it should have been a much more gradual project.

“I’m quite passionate about attractive, free-flowing football,” he said, “but I tried to make the changes all at once and I realise now you can’t do that.

“Scott (Naylor) had a tough, disciplined, well-organised team here and it will be my job to build on that and to establish Oldham as a Championship club.”

He was honest with the chairman in interview; honest with the media at the briefing; and he’s honest with himself when reflecting on his departure from the Bulldogs and the size of the job that lies ahead of him at Oldham.

Of Batley’s decision not to offer him a new deal, he said:

“I’m not naive. It’s a results-driven business and if they don’t meet expectations it’s the coach’s head that will roll.

“The job here is a tough one, not least because of the disparity between budgets at the top of the Championship and those lower down.

“York City Knights actually spent more than clubs at the lower end of the Championship, even though it was their first season up, and I don’t suppose I’ll have that luxury.”

He also made the point that most Championship clubs had already built their squads for next year so recruitment of the right players wouldn’t be easy due to both availability and financial restrictions.

There was quality already in the Oldham squad but it would maybe benefit from a bit of polish and talks with the chairman were already under way.

Talking of polish, he said the Championship was his favourite division of the three. He felt it provided more attractive rugby than Super League which tended, in the main, to be more stereotyped.

You might not agree . . . but you can’t question his honesty.



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AS lockdown restrictions start to ease, now is the time for everyone connected with Oldham RLFC to do all they can to help with getting income from our Club Cash lottery back to where it was before the pandemic started to bite.

This is vital for the club and its finances which, as you all know, have taken a massive hit in the past 12 months.

Collectors will be returning to door-to-door visits in the next few weeks and we hope people who suspended payments will pick up where they left off as we strive and work hard to get back to where we were before the pandemic caused us to lose 50 per cent of our lottery income.

Many of our regular punters, who would normally pay a collector, have answered our calls for help by finding other ways to pay and to retain their chances of winning prizes.

To those people we are very grateful and we would like to take this opportunity to thank them once again for their loyal and continued support.

The lottery, of course, is potentially one of our biggest fund-raisers and for as little as £1 a week — more if you wish — you can help the club immensely and at the same time have chances to win £1,000, £100, £50, £25 or one of ten consolation prizes of £10.

That’s the present prize structure. There’s every chance it will be increased once we are out of lockdown, door-to-door collections start again and we get back to some sort of normality.

In the meantime you can join, or start up again, by contacting the club on 07904 898177 or by email to: enquiries@roughyeds.co.uk

For more information about the lottery, and for the “great opportunities” provided by our partnership with the National Youth and Community Development Association (NYCDA) go our Club Cash page.

There, you will find all the results and a detailed statement about getting back to normal with the help of our not-for-profit partners.

All proceeds from the partnership will continue to support the club and help us to meet the aims of our Club Cash activities, particularly in its aims and objectives to be an active stakeholder in the local community.

Download Application Form

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