NEW DEWSBURY Rams head coach Lee Greenwood says that his priority will be making the side tough to beat next year.
Greenwood was confirmed as the new boss at the club’s fans’ forum last Friday night, after Neil Kelly stepped down at the end of last season.
The former England international is starting his second top coaching role, after a three-year spell with the now-defunct Gloucestershire All Golds in League One.
Greenwood says that he will be pragmatic about the approach he wants his team to have.
“Everyone says they want their team to play attacking, flair rugby, but you can only go by what players you get and your surroundings,” he said.
“Unfortunately, only the top teams with all the money can handpick what they want from each player and pick a dream team. We’re realistic and the club is as well, we get what’s available and work to the best of our ability with what we’ve got.
“I’ll see what sort of squad we’ve got, and obviously quite a few have already been signed. I know some and don’t know much about others, so it’s a clean slate for me really.
“I will be different to Neil because coaches are different and they want different things in people, so I’m working hard now at bringing my own players in.
“Regarding the style of play, that will be governed by what we’ve got, and where our strengths are and where our weaknesses might be, and I’m certainly not going to ask the players to do something that’s not going to be beneficial for us.
“We’ll work it out together, the players will have an input in that, and we’ll go from there, but what we will try and do is make ourselves really difficult to beat, and you will have to work hard to beat us.”
The Rams have finished in eighth spot in the Championship in each of the past three seasons, and Greenwood believes that that is “a fair reflection” of the club’s size and budget.
He says that he won’t be setting a target for finishing position, but outlined what he wants his side to achieve.
“We can set ourselves a target of seventh but not play very well all year and not be that happy about it, but finish seventh so it’s like we’ve achieved something,” he explained.
“On the flipside, if we set ourselves a target of seventh or eighth but we beat some big teams, put in some really good performances, and have a decent season but finish in 10th, it looks like we’ve failed.
“So I don’t really like to do it like that to be honest, but there will be some goals that we set as coaches.
“The one for me is just being really tough to beat, and we’ll try to get a bit of consistency going rather than get absolutely smashed one week and then pull off a great result the next week.
“We’ll try to get a level of performance where against the bigger teams we’re really giving them a game.”
The 38-year-old says he is looking forward to getting stuck in to his new job, after receiving a positive reception at the fans’ forum.
“I spoke quite honestly and openly, and I think the people in there respected that,” he said. “Hopefully we’ve got a bit of an understanding on some things.
“You won’t hear much jargon coming from my mouth like you do with quite a few other people, and I will speak honestly as much as I can.
“But they seemed to be positive there, there seemed to be a decent reaction, and people came up to me after and welcomed me aboard so I’m looking to get cracking.
“I am already doing that, the phone’s been non-stop, people just wanting a chat or agents and players. The first job really is to build the squad up. Hopefully it can be in place by the time we start training, and then obviously we get cracking with the actual rugby stuff then.”
Dewsbury have been busy in the past week, with Charlie Martin signing from Doncaster and Tom Halliday re-joining the club, while Rob Worrincy has penned a new deal.
Greenwood, who appeared for the likes of Halifax, London Broncos and Huddersfield Giants in his playing career, says that more of the 2018 squad could still sign on, but that chairman Mark Sawyer would be largely in charge of that.
“I’ve spoken to a few of the lads who haven’t signed yet and I won’t take it personally if they want to go elsewhere as well, and that’s up to them really,” he said.
“I’ll let Mark carry on negotiating with them and if they stay then great, and if not then we’ll look elsewhere. I’m happy to work with what’s there, and if those other guys that have got offers stay as well then even better, and if not then it gives me a bigger budget to work with and some more players to bring in.
“But there are players available so it’s not panic stations, and the only pressure is what I put on myself to get sorted for when we start pre-season because if the squad’s not sorted by then, then it is what it is and we’ll start pre-season looking for players.”
He describes his previous role with the All Golds as “tough”, but says he felt he did a good job in his time in charge.
“Obviously a lot’s been said about the club and whether they warrant the place or not, but I felt like I got Gloucestershire to a place where they did warrant being in the league,” he said.
“We tried doing things a certain way that other clubs didn’t, and I thought we really got somewhere.
“I was a bit disappointed when they said they were pulling out of the league (at the end of 2017) to do other things. But it wasn’t a case of I was out of a job because they’d decided to do that, I’d already chosen to leave.
“It was hard to recruit players and hard to get things going, but I look back and think that I did a decent job.”
While Dewsbury may only be his second senior role, Greenwood has been around the coaching block for a while.
As soon as he turned pro as a teenager he was coaching the junior teams at his community club Siddal, and coached their open age team before getting the job with Gloucestershire.
“Players who retire from the game and go straight into coaching without that experience, they make the mistakes on the job at quite a high level,” he explained. “I’ve already gone through that and learnt as I was a kid.
“I’ve just carried on coaching and never really been out of it even though I’ve been playing, so I’ve been coaching for a while even though I’m relatively young.
“You just learn how to deal with people really, and the benefit of doing the coaching while you’re still playing yourself is that you learn what not to do and what to do.”