Dewsbury Rams head coach Neil Kelly has described this Sunday’s home clash with Swinton Lions as “potentially the most significant game” of their season.
With Swinton occupying one of the two relegation spots in the Betfred Championship, Kelly says that “simple mathematics tells us how important this game is, for them as well as us.”
He said: “We don’t have to take the two points, but by virtue of who we are playing, and the fact that we’re playing them at home where we’ve only got two games left [after that], if ever we were going to produce an enthusiastic, tough, physical performance, while still playing the football that we know we can play, this is the weekend to do it
.“Swinton would rather be in our position than theirs. We’re five points clear of them, and obviously to make it seven would be significant for us. If it was reduced to three, then obviously we’ve still got to win another couple of games.
“I’m not going to make any predictions over scorelines and things, but both teams are in the bottom half of the table, and we’ve seen that scorelines can be unpredictable in those places.
“What I do know is that if we play as well as we can play, and Swinton play as well as they can play, we should still win. The big challenge to the team is that we’ve got to produce our best performance.
“I don’t want to spend Sunday night or Monday morning thinking ‘if only we’d done this’. It’s not mathematical [that we’ll be safe], but the rewards are there for us to go for.”
Kelly said after the Rams’ last regular season game at Toulouse that there were a lot of positives to take out of defeat, and he now wants to see the spirit of that French trip continued.
“Part of the conversation I had when they all came back in was that the big plus about going to Toulouse with a weakened side was the spirit and the character that we showed.
“Now it’s incumbent on the players who weren’t available for Toulouse to buy into the spirit and build momentum.”
Without a fixture this past weekend, Kelly explains that he gave his players the week off “to make sure that they’re fresh.”
“We’ve only had one training session but I must admit we look a little bit more refreshed,” he said, “but we’re going to have to be because this is potentially the most significant game of the year for us.
“I didn’t know who the opposition was going to be in the first weekend at that time [of making the decision], and as it’s turned out it’s probably more significant that we’ve had the week off, but now you’ve got to get off the beach and put in the really hard work.
“We’ve got to make sure that we turn up ready to play and we’re no longer on a rest, that we’re back to playing and it’s important that they all turn up.”