DEWSBURY RAMS have bolstered their ranks with the addition of Dan Waite-Pullan on a month’s loan deal from Leeds Rhinos.
The youngster made his debut in professional rugby on Wednesday night, as the Rams fell to a 54-6 defeat at Widnes in the semi-finals of the 1895 Cup.
While it wasn’t a memorable evening for the club it was a special one for Waite-Pullan, who came off the bench to score Dewsbury’s only try.
The 20-year-old second-rower arrives at the Tetley’s Stadium from Leeds’ famed academy. He played his amateur rugby at Stanningley and joined Bradford Bulls before moving to the Rhinos in 2017.
Waite-Pullan is the 10th loan signing to join the Rams in 2019, and became the 39th different player to feature in a competitive game this season for the club.
He arrives into the thick of a relegation battle, with Dewsbury outside the drop zone on points difference alone heading into Sunday’s away tie at York City Knights (kick-off 3pm).
While Barrow have caught up with three wins from their last four matches, including a shock triumph at in-form Featherstone last weekend, the Rams have suffered thrashings in their last two league outings against Toronto and Leigh.
After the Leigh hammering, coach Lee Greenwood expressed his disappointment with his side’s performance and particularly their tendency to start matches sluggishly.
“It’s probably too many times now where right at the start of the game we haven’t quite been ready for it. In long patches we look every bit as good as some of these top teams,” he said.
“I’d really love to see us take a team on right from kick-off, fired in, meet teams head-on and see what happens.
“It seems like we start soft, work out what the other team are going to be like and before you know it you’re a couple of scores behind and it’s hard then. We need to dust ourselves down and keep going.”
When he arrived at the club in the off-season, Greenwood’s stated aim was to make his team “tough to beat”, and he lamented the fact that hasn’t been the case in recent performances.
“The conditions play a part, the other teams are throwing a bit more at you with the ball in hand (now),” he said.
“Maybe earlier in the season teams were taking us lightly. With the weather as it was, it turned it into more of a middle game.
“I just know that in some of the games I’m looking at – Halifax, Toulouse and today (Leigh) – when we’ve played top teams at home, we’ve lost them by half-time and we’re playing catch-up.
“These teams aren’t taking us lightly here and we could probably do with one of them doing that, but they’re not. They’re coming here with a big side and a good gameplan, ready to defend tough, and we’re struggling to combat it, defensively or with the ball.”
With 10 matches left to play this season, the Rams are in a real scrap for survival, but Greenwood says that the club’s position comes as no surprise.
“I thought it was going to be a dogfight when I took the job, so it’s no surprise to me. I knew how tight it was going to be,” he said.