All Golds head coach Lee Greenwood has challenged his players to bounce back from the disappointment of Sunday’s 18-12 loss against Oxford when they face London Skolars on Saturday.
His side will need to up their game as they face a Skolars side that will be looking to make it eight successive wins on Saturday. Despite the disappointment of missing out on a place in the League 1 Shield final Greenwood says he expects his players to battle hard in the remaining two games. He said: “It’s our final away game of the season and it’s a good game to be involved in. Skolars are a really good side, size wise they’re probably the biggest in the whole division, so we know all too well what to expect. They’ve won seven games on the bounce so obviously they’ll be full of confidence. We go in as underdogs, we’ll need to be somewhere near our best otherwise they could put a big score on us.
“The Oxford game was really disappointing but we’re looking ahead to Saturday now. Skolars have got a lot of experience and they’re tough to play against, they know when to slow the game down and when to speed it up. They’ve got a lot of players who have gone through the Broncos’ system. Rugby League has been going a long time in London now and you can see how much the game has progressed.”
The defeat to Oxford was damaging, as were the injuries sustained during the game – the Golden Fern finished with just 13 fit players, and Greenwood expects a few of those to miss out on Saturday. “We suffered a few knocks last time out, I’d be surprised if a few of them make Saturday. I’ve never used injuries as an excuse and won’t ahead of Saturday. We’ll go down and give it our best. I say it a lot but attitude is so important in this game. It’s important we focus on ourselves and look to do the simple things well,” added Greenwood.
After the disappointment of missing out on a place in the top eight the Skolars have shown tremendous recent form and look set to book a place in the League 1 Shield final. Earlier this year they came from 16-4 down to win a tight game 24-22 the Prince of Wales stadium. Lamont Bryan, Josh Allison and Ollie Purslow – all former All Golds’ players – could face their former side on Saturday as the Londoners look to make it eight in a row.
It will be the last time the departing Greenwood takes charge of an away game and he says he has plenty of fond memories of games on the road. “The Workington game earlier this season is the one that probably stands out. We’d gone up there the week before and lost by plenty so to win six days later was some effort. We showed tremendous resilience that day, it was a great team performance. The game against Crusaders last season was another I’ll remember for a long time. We were dead and buried (36-16 down) with 20 minutes to go and scored a try in the final few seconds to win.”