EXPERIENCED Dewsbury Rams duo Ryan Hepworth and Paul Sykes have been named joint club captains for 2016.
The 31-year-old Hepworth, who plays prop, is a vastly experienced player who featured in the 2011 Championship Grand Final as a Sheffield Eagles player before arriving at Owl Lane.
Sykes, 34, who joined Dewsbury from Featherstone at the end of the 2015 campaign, can boast an impressive full-time career which has seen him play for Bradford Bulls and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
But despite their leadership credentials, Rams head coach Glenn Morrison admits that that the decision to appoint them wasn’t made lightly.
“All the coaching staff, not just me, had a long discussion about who would be the best candidate to lead us forward on the field,” said Morrison.
“There have been a few changes this year because we have a senior player group that the whole playing staff voted to appoint, but I think everybody in the team had Paul and Ryan as their selections.
“I think Ryan has been a natural leader in the forwards since he arrived at Dewsbury three years ago.
“Paul, on the other hand, has just come into the club with plenty of experience and he’s a local lad so I’m sure he’ll be delighted to be able to lead his home-town club on the field.
“Paul has earned everyone’s respect through working hard and showing great dedication since joining us and I’m confident him and Ryan will work well in driving the team forward next season,” added Morrison.
Elsewhere at the Tetley’s Stadium Ryan Wright has rejoined Dewsbury from Doncaster, after the hooker was released from his Rams contract back in July of this year.
Wright was one of Morrison’s first signings after the Australian took charge at Owl Lane in 2012.
“I’ve always rated Wrighty as a player,” said Morrison.
“It’s great that he has come back to us and I feel he has joined as an even better player than before.
“I told him when he left earlier this summer that the door would always be open to him should he want to return and I’m happy he has made the decision to do so.
“Ryan (Wright) is now fighting for a place in the Boxing Day line-up and it’s great to see all the lads eager to play rugby again.
“I’m pleased with how hard they have worked on their fitness in the close season and because of that we have been able to do some ball work a lot earlier in training, so our preparations have been a little bit ahead of schedule compared to recent years, which is good, and should benefit us in pre-season.”