How Sheffield Eagles’ Oliver Davies has learned from ‘chilled out’ team-mate Matty James
Rejuvenated Oliver Davies says living with and learning from Sheffield Eagles club skipper Matty James has been a major factor in his recent upturn in fortunes.
Davies’ debut campaign was a largely forgettable one, not just for the former Swinton man personally, but for the club as a whole.
But fast-forward into the current season and Davies has made himself into an integral member of coach Mark Aston’s plans – often standing out during their unbeaten start to 2019.
Speaking to The Star, Davies confirmed housemate James as a major influence in the turnaround, hailing the experienced prop for his helping him settle into the Steel City.
He said: “I live with Jamesy and young Lewis Taylor. We have a chilled-out house, we enjoy it. I can't thank Jamesy enough for what he has done for me moving over here. He has made it so easy for me. He has been there and done it at this level. The stories he has from when he was at Bradford are great. He literally grew up in the best Bradford team of the modern era, it wasn't a bad place to learn your trade and now he’s passing it on to me. He plays the game hard, very simple, that's all you need to do as a prop forward - he leads by example. Everyone looks up to him.”
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The Eagles came through a brutal opening 30 minutes last time out against Batley, before eventually moving through the gears to claim their fourth consecutive victory.
Aston has had the luxury of selecting a virtually unchanged line-up for the opening four matches, with only a handful of minor changes helping to breed a consistency which has been missing for two seasons.
With Featherstone next on the menu, Davies firmly believes the test received in the opening quarter last weekend, will stand his side in good stead ahead of Sunday.
“The first 30 minutes against Batley was our toughest of the season so far,” Davies added.
“They rolled us down the middle, and it took us some time to realise we were in dogfight. It was the best thing that could have happened to us this season because it gave us a kick up the backside, and to be fair we responded. We have some old heads in there like Thacks (Anthony Thackeray) and Patch (Pat Walker) and we listened to them and they guided us around the park.”