DEWSBURY RAMS hooker Sam Day has signed a new two-year deal with the club.
The 24-year-old has been one of their stand-out performers so far this campaign, appearing in all seven of their Championship games and scoring three tries.
He first joined the club on loan in 2017 and signed a permanent deal last year, while his new contract will keep him at Dewsbury until 2021.
“I’m very happy to get it sorted out so early on and it’s nice to know where you’re going to be playing and I can just look forward to the next few years here,” said Day.
“My main aim was just to play more games this year. I feel like playing week after week is really benefiting me and hopefully I can carry it on for the rest of the year.”
Coach Lee Greenwood says that Day has impressed him since taking charge of the team.
“Sam started the season really well and was probably third-choice hooker last season, having come from Featherstone before that,” he said.
“He is now establishing himself this season, and with a good pre-season behind him and given the opportunity to play he can now show what he can do. The retention of players is just as important as recruiting new players.”
The club have also been busy with loans this season, and Greenwood says that five of the players currently at the club will remain there until the end of the season unless they are recalled.
Callum Field and Samy Kibula are at the club from Wigan Warriors, while Wakefield Trinity pair Luke Hooley and Chris Annakin and Hull KR’s Owen Harrison also remain available. Owen Trout’s loan from Leeds Rhinos has been extended.
“Field, Kibula, Annakin, Hooley (and) Harrison are all pretty much for the season now unless their first teams want them,” Greenwood said.
“Owen Trout we’ve extended for just another week for now, because there’s a good chance he could make his first-team debut for Leeds soon, so we’ll review that one as we go along.”
He added: “Obviously Easter’s quite difficult and then we don’t really get a week off. It’s game after game and there’s the 1895 Cup that starts as well, and if you’re in the Challenge Cup you’ve got play (the 1895 Cup) midweek, so it’s quite a tough schedule for a part-time team.
“We want all bodies available to us, so that’s the loan players that we’ve brought in but that’s also the guys of ours that have gone out on loan for game time.
“When it comes to this Easter period, most of them will have had the month and they’re ready to be called back if we need them.”
Harvey Hallas has spent the last month at Keighley Cougars, and that loan has been extended, although Greenwood says that his opportunity for the Rams will come.
Meanwhile, they could be without captain Paul Sykes for the next few weeks after he picked up a knock in the win over Featherstone Rovers.
The veteran half-back is suspended for this week’s trip to Bradford Bulls anyway, but Greenwood will hope to have him available over the Easter period.
“It’s not a long-term one I don’t think, but obviously you’d prefer to have him in your squad,” said the Rams boss.
“We’ll have a look at it after this week, it’s Thatto Heath in the Challenge Cup (next week) so if he misses that one we can cover that but then we’ll look and see.”
Dewsbury progressed in the Cup with a 32-6 win over amateur side West Hull last weekend. Cameron Leeming scored a hat-trick of tries and Andy Gabriel added a double, and both are giving their coach a selection headache having only played one league match each so far.
“They got a chance at the weekend and you can’t do much more than scoring three and two tries,” said Greenwood.
“We want competition for places. You can’t just go with 17 lads and expect that will get you through the year, you need maybe 25 players of Championship quality who can come in and do jobs at different times. So hopefully those guys are improving week on week.
“Those two signed from League One so it doesn’t always work out that you’re ready-made to play every single week, but they’re both training hard and I’m sure they’ll both play a big part this season.”
Before the next round and a trip to Thatto Heath Crusaders, the Rams go to Bradford on Sunday (kick-off 3pm) in a match that is being streamed live on the OurLeague app.
On the Bulls, Greenwood said: “Their form’s not been bad, they narrowly lost at Widnes who are full-time so that was a decent effort, then they beat Leigh in their last league at home.
“They’re a good side and I’d say two thirds of the squad are possibly full-time. There’s a lot of experience and quality from a level above in there as well, so we’re going to have to be at our absolute best to try and come away with something.”