KITTED OUT: Red and black come to the fore on the new Dewsbury Rams kit, with thin amber hoops running in between. YBS are the main shirt sponsors, with The Press under the collar. The strip will be on sale at tonight’s Meet the Players event in the Royal Suite at the Tetley’s Stadium (Friday).
DEWSBURY RAMS head coach Lee Greenwood says that his side need the Boxing Day clash with Batley Bulldogs as they prepare for the new season.
Greenwood arrived at the club two months ago and has been busy assembling a squad for the 2019 campaign, and this will be his first chance to see the team in action.
All of that means that the new coach still knows relatively little about much of his team, making the first fixture of pre-season an important one.
“Normally I wouldn’t be that bothered as it interrupts your pre-season, but with where we’re at we need these games,” he said.
“I’ve been looking forward to it for a few weeks really. You can train as much as you want but there is no substitute to seeing some of the lads first-hand in a game, and we can start to piece together what will be our strongest team.
“Next week and January 5 against Featherstone, everyone who is fit will get a run out, and that’s their opportunity to throw their hat into the ring and get the shirts for game one.
“Obviously there will be another couple of friendlies after that in the Yorkshire Cup, but these first two games will be the first crack at showing the coaching staff what they can do.
“I’m still getting to know the players; even though it’s been four and a half weeks it’s not a long time when I haven’t coached the players before.”
He contrasted his situation to that of counterpart Matt Diskin, who is entering his third campaign at the club.
“When you look at Batley for instance, their coach is going into his third season, so he’s been building there and they should be a lot further down the track than we are. Even though they’ll have done the same amount of pre-season this time, as a team they will be a lot further down the track this time.
“I want to see some positives in it and I want to win, because that’s what it’s about. It’s not a normal friendly where I’m not that bothered about the result.
“I’ve played in this game before and I know what it’s about, so the lads will be well aware of that anyway, and if not, they’ll be made aware of it very quickly.”
Greenwood has a lot of players to get to know, but he says that he won’t be putting all of them out at once on Boxing Day.
“We’ve got other friendlies not long after that, so I’m not going to be ridiculous and put 32 people in,” he said.
“There will be more than 17 but it won’t be ridiculous. It’ll be lads getting proper minutes rather than everyone getting 20 minutes; we’re going to make it a lot more useful than that.
“People will be getting run-outs but they’ll be getting good run-outs, not just a few minutes for the sake of it. It will be a proper team starting and then throughout the game there’ll be changes.”
The coach says that his focus for the game will be on “what we want to do”, rather than the opposition, as they look ahead to the Championship season.
“We want to win because it’s against Batley, and we want to win every game anyway,” said Greenwood, “but within that there’s the bigger picture as well.”