LEE GREENWOOD says there were positives from the Boxing Day derby but admits there is “a lot more work to do”.
His Dewsbury Rams side were defeated 16-10 by Batley Bulldogs at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium, suffering a seventh defeat on the bounce in the annual clash.
Greenwood, taking charge of his first game since joining the club in the off-season, conceded that the contest was “low quality” but said that was to be expected at the start of pre-season.
“It was a scrappy game and there was all sorts going on,” he said. “Passes going to the floor, trying to play the ball with no one in acting half-back; there was amateur stuff going on and if it was a competitive game you’d be tearing your hair out.
“It’s to be expected because the combinations will be the first time they play together and we were changing quite a lot during the game, because that’s what I was using it for.
“I wasn’t particularly going to win the game, as in not making decisions on the spot to win the game, but giving people good game time, I needed to look at people in certain positions.
“Some guys did themselves plenty of favours performance-wise, and a couple of others were a bit rusty, so it’s what you get on Boxing Day. There were signs that we’ve got some potential in there, and some others that tell us we’ve got a lot more work to do.
“I thought there were a couple of promising lads off the bench, a couple of the forwards. I thought Sam Day did pretty well when he came on at hooker.”
After a tricky start, the Rams did well to recover and make a fist of it in the second half, and Greenwood takes some comfort from the comeback.
“It wasn’t a great start, and then the try was the most harmful bit in the second minute. We lost Jode (Sheriffe) for a bit, and then in the next couple of minutes Tobias Richardson came off as well so we lost two front rowers.
“We were disrupted a bit, which led to a pretty awful start to be honest. But as we went on we grew into it.
“We could have taken our eye off it in the second half. If we had a mentality of (being) 10-0 down playing down the slope, as a neutral you could have been thinking it would be one-way traffic in the second half but it was far from it, and if anything we were the better team in the second half.”
The Rams could have levelled the scores in the closing stages when Adam Ryder reached for the line but was penalised for a double movement, and Greenwood said that decision was “wrong”.
However, he added: “I think Batley just shaded it anyway, so I’m certainly not going to use any excuses.”
Although play was often untidy with ball in hand, Greenwood was pleased with the fitness aspect as his side lasted the course and pushed hard to the end.
“Some people are at different levels to others, but I don’t think at any point as a team we looked like we were going to get overrun. We started off badly, but as it went on we started to look stronger,” he said.
After getting a first look at his new squad and the raft of signings, Greenwood says that he hopes to learn more about the team at his disposal when they face Featherstone Rovers in the Yorkshire Cup (January 5).
“I expect the Featherstone game will be similar to that to be honest, just using it as a chance to look at people and give people the chance that they deserve,” he said.
“If we win then it’s a bonus really, but I do want to see signs that we could win the game if it was to be a competitive game. I want to see people put their hand up really, so I can start thinking about the strongest team that can compete in the Championship.
“There are plenty of people who did that (on Boxing Day), there are a couple who have a bit more work to do, but there were half a dozen lads who probably didn’t figure yesterday as well so they’ll get a chance a week on Saturday.
“I was looking forward to seeing the guys play because I hadn’t seen them in the flesh. I’m like the supporters really, looking forward to some of the new guys playing. We work hard, but there’s no substitute for playing matches.”