Date: Sunday 17th May
Venue: Whitebank Stadium
Oldham lost their 100 per cent record away to Barrow Raiders, going down 30-18 to also lose their place at the top of the Kingstone Press League 1 last weekend.
They have only dropped down one place to second though and despite losing their first game of the season Oldham coach Scott Naylor saw plenty of positives in defeat.
“Given the amount of defence we had to do and the position on the field we had to play in for most of the game, which was near our try line, I thought it was incredible,” commented Naylor.
“After 78 minutes we were only six points behind, so we can take a lot of positives out of the efforts of the lads and our defensive structure but we should never have been in those positions. We didn’t have any control on the game whatsoever for any part of the game. It was disappointing in that respect but I’m not disappointed with the effort the lads showed. I thought the attitude and effort was outstanding.”
Only points difference separates Oldham and Newcastle with the two sitting on 10 points along with Keighley. Their opponents have hit the ground running this year and they will be a tough team to beat on Sunday.
“Newcastle is going to be a tough game. I know Stanley (Gene) well, he gets his lads organised and fired up for games. They’ve made some great signings this year, they’re an all-round better outfit than they were last year.
“I watched them play Swinton in the semi-final of the iPro Sport Cup and they did a lot of good things. From what I can gather they’ve been playing better, so it’s going to be a massive challenge. I’m just hoping that the disappointment of the defeat last week fires the lads up.”
Newcastle Thunder go into this game off the back of a convincing 58-12 victory away at Hemel Stags and are enjoying a good run of form at the moment.
Head coach Stanley Gene was impressed with the performance and with how ruthless his side remained throughout.
“It was a very good win last week, I thought Sunday was one of our best performances of the year,” said Gene.
Thunder will be looking to extend their run of three wins in a row when they visit Whitebank and will be hoping to leapfrog their opponents with a victory.
“Oldham are always a very tough, physical side who have a really good coach. They are a team that are going to be up at the top at the end of the year so it’s a game I’m looking at as a benchmark to see where we’re at.”
Prediction: This could be the game of the round with second taking on third with Oldham hoping that last week was just a blip. Newcastle are in form however the hosts may be too strong on their home patch. Oldham by 8.