Kelly says preparation is key for Rams

Kelly says preparation is key for Rams

Rams coach Neil Kelly says drawing a balance between rest and progression is crucial as his side approach their final two Championship Shield games before the semi-final.

The Dewsbury boss is hoping his side bounce back from a heavy defeat at the hands of Batley when they face Bradford this weekend.

“I thought we put in a really good, workmanlike performance in the first half, playing uphill at Batley,” said Kelly.

“Our second-half performance lacked ambition, character and spirit.

“We know we possess it because we showed that against Sheffield, Toulouse, Rochdale and in all the other games, but it wasn’t present in last weekend’s performance.

“We have had some significant injuries, but I’m not one to blame injuries,” he added.

“I would rather look at the players that are playing, and I thought that the players playing on Sunday were far better than 38-0.

“There is no shame losing at Batley as long as it’s a competitive scoreline, but 38-0 leaves you open for criticism,” said Kelly.

The Rams sit fourth in the Championship Shield table, just two points behind Sheffield, who were beaten by the Bulls last weekend. 

Kelly has received well-deserved praise for how he has turned the Rams around and admitted it may have come as a shock even to his own players.

“I’m conscious that we have maybe achieved more than what even possibly the playing group thought they could achieve,” he said.

“The performance against Batley, and to a certain extent Swinton the week before, can only knock a small amount of polish off the season.

“But saying that, we have got another two league games to go and a big semi-final that will probably be in Toulouse, although Sheffield seem to be doing as much as they can to let us overtake them.

“The good thing about rugby league is that you’re never resting on your laurels, you can always think, we’ve done this, so what can we do next.”

Kelly insists he will be thinking hard about what moves to make over the next couple of weeks.

“I need to use the Bradford and Oldham games to build, but at the same time rest,” he said.

“I know this seems like a contradiction because you can’t really build when you’re resting players, but we need to be smart.

“In chasing a victory against Bradford and Oldham we don’t want to preclude our chances of winning at Toulouse.

“I want to go to Toulouse with the best side possible on the day,” he said.

This week also marks the eighth anniversary of Dewsbury’s ‘invincible’ season.

On Sunday September 6, 2009, the Rams hit the record books by becoming only the second rugby league team to win all their league matches in a season, resulting in an instant promotion back to the Championship.

They beat Blackpool Panthers to make it 18 wins out of 18 under Warren Jowitt in the 2009 Co-operative Championship One campaign.

Many are surprised that Kelly has not made the shortlist for 2017 coach of the year, despite an impressive turn-around season for the Rams. 

When questioned on the topic, the Rams boss remained modest and paid credit to the three announced contenders, Hull KR’s Tim Sheens, Halifax’s Richard Marshall and London’s Andrew Henderson. 

“I am a little bit surprised, but not a lot, my daughters are more concerned about it than I am!” said Kelly.

Share this post