Photo: Simon Hall
LEE GREENWOOD hailed the spirit and togetherness in this season’s Dewsbury Rams squad after they earned a first win of the campaign at Halifax in midweek.
In the re-arranged match from last Sunday, tries from Matty Gee and Andy Gabriel, along with five Paul Sykes kicks, saw them earn a hard-fought 18-16 win.
Greenwood has remarked throughout pre-season on how the attitude of the group has been much improved on last year, and he was delighted to see the proof of that on show at Halifax.
He said: “Obviously we were underdogs in everyone else’s book, but I’ve spoken a bit about the different attitude in our squad and the only way you can show that publicly is on the pitch.
“We’d have 100 per cent lost that last year. Once we went behind straight after half-time we’d have crumbled there and probably lost comfortably, but there’s a different character and some of the performances out there were outstanding.
“There are loads of positives to take, loads of huge efforts individually, every single one of them put in a massive shift, but that’s what it takes to come here and win.
“There’s nothing technical between the team we had out there and the team we had last year, when we were losing some tight games, but it’s the attitude and mentality of the lads.
“When we got a couple of things wrong, no one said that’s it; everyone got straight up. When we had the adversity, we flicked quickly into defending the next set.”
Focus now switches to the Challenge Cup, with the Rams heading to fellow Championship side Whitehaven in the fourth round on Sunday (kick-off 3pm).
Greenwood stated following the draw that he would give fringe players the chance to impress in that game and, particularly with a shorter turnaround from that bruising encounter at Halifax, the likes of Morgan Punchard and James Thornton are likely to make their first competitive appearances.
“There will be some lads we haven’t seen yet, that’s for sure,” said the Dewsbury boss. “We haven’t got the biggest squad but I want to see everyone play and put their hand up for a shirt.
“The lads that have played (against Halifax) have done themselves no harm whatsoever, but there’s also some lads chomping at the bit and training well, and they’re looking forward to an opportunity on Sunday.
“There was a hell of a lot of tackling so there are some sore bodies and a trip up to Cumbria on Sunday might not be ideal for some of them.
“The Challenge Cup and 1895 Cup are not a massive priority for us. As it always is for clubs of our size, it’s cementing your Championship status as quickly as possible.”
The Rams will wait to see the extent of an injury picked up by hooker Sam Day in Tuesday night’s victory, while prop Martyn Reilly missed the game with a neck injury but could return for the cup game.
Dewsbury were knocked out of the Challenge Cup at Whitehaven at this stage of the competition two years ago, going down 25-18, but made the sixth round last season.