MATT Diskin is looking to his Oldham players to respond positively to their poor performance in a 52-12 Coral Challenge Cup defeat at Widnes.
Next Sunday (March 1) they’re back in Championship business with a key battle against Bradford Bulls at Bower Fold (3pm) and he expects them to play with the passion and desire that was missing at Widnes but which was very much in evidence in the last Championship game at Whitehaven.
Well though Widnes played on the back of their outstanding quartet comprising of full-back Jack Owens, halves Danny Craven and Matty Smith and hooker Logan Tomkins, it is hard to imagine they would have scored nine tries if Roughyeds had played with the commitment and unbridled self-belief they produced in Cumbria.
They must not fear Bradford; nor must they give them too much respect which they may have done in both meetings with the Vikings in the past few weeks.
“When things go horribly wrong, rugby league allows you to have the opportunities to fix them very quickly and against Bradford next Sunday we’ll be looking to put right the wrongs of this performance.
“To be honest, the way in which we started each half was embarrassing and it didn’t end there. Throughout the game a lot of our one-on-one defence was very poor indeed.
“The only consolation is that this wasn’t a league game. The league is our priority and I think we’ll see a different Oldham side in action against the Bulls.
“There were one or two areas which I wasn’t happy about at all and we’ve got to get that out of the dressing room very quickly indeed.
“We had little or no field position. especially in the first half, and you can’t come to a place like Widnes and expect to be in the game when you’re coming out of your own end all the time.
“I think we had the ball once, maybe twice, in the first 20 minutes and that’s not good enough.”
His injury problems continued too. Prop Ben Davies, playing his first game of the season after back problems, did a good 20-minute stint off the bench in the first half but then had a recurrence. His back muscles seized-up during the interval and he took no further part in the game.
Danny Bridge went off with head and neck injuries early in the game, but returned after quarter of an hour, completed the game and was one of the side’s better players on the day.
Another casualty was young forward Matthew Fletcher, who went down awkwardly in a second-half tackle and picked up a painful shoulder injury which caused him to leave the field for the remainder of the game.
All the injured will be given as long as possible to prove their fitness ahead of the Bulls game and Diskin will also hope to have at his disposal dual-reg centre Jack Croft and on-loan forwards Titus Gwaze and Jimmy Beckett, who didn’t play at Widnes because that would have cup-tied them and made them ineligible to play for their parent clubs in later rounds of the Challenge Cup.