LEE GREENWOOD says that his Dewsbury Rams side must pick up a Championship win in the next few weeks.
On four occasions so far this season the Rams have been in a winning position late on, only to see victory snatched away from them – most recently in last weekend’s 16-13 home defeat to Sheffield Eagles.
That has left them with only three points to their name after six matches, and Greenwood believes that they must pick up more points soon with a trip to Featherstone Rovers on Sunday (March 24, kick-off 3pm) before a visit to Bradford Bulls two weeks later.
The coach was able to reflect on the positives after pushing play-off chasers Sheffield all the way, but was also left with a familiar feeling of disappointment.
“After a game it’s hard to find any positives from it, you feel like you’ve had a win snatched away from you,” he said.
“A couple of days later when you look back, it is better than being beaten convincingly, like you see some of the teams doing and like we did at Halifax.
“That’s probably a bit more depressing to be honest, because we’re not even in with a shout in the game. In all but one of our games we have been.
“That’s a learning thing rather than much else. We’re not doing a lot wrong, but this is professional sport and the Championship’s a good level and just getting one or two things wrong you end up losing the game from a commanding position.
“We’ve got to keep working hard to make sure we’re in that position, but then there are a couple of things that we need to work on and learn from. It’s happened too many times now to be coincidence.
“Without doing too much differently we could be sat there joint-top and it’s a totally different conversation, and I’m in for Coach of the Year. But at the minute we’re not, and it is about picking up points and picking up wins.
“In this division there’s the threat of relegation as well, which nobody likes to talk about but it’s there so you’ve got to think about it. Just running teams close doesn’t give you points.
“Over these next few weeks we need to win. I feel like we’re a good side and I’m looking at some of the teams towards the top end and I don’t think they’re too much better than us. They’ve just found a way to win.”
Featherstone are one of the sides in the play-off picture, having picked up four wins out of seven so far in the campaign, and Greenwood is aware of the challenge facing his Dewsbury side.
“They’re good, especially at home,” he said. “They’re averaging 30-40 (points) to about 14 (against), so that’s the par for the course at the minute. Then if you look at the results against Dewsbury last year, all three games were very similar to that.
“We’ve got some work to do to be better than the teams that have already gone there, Batley, Sheffield and Halifax, who have been beaten comfortably there, and we want to better than last year’s Dewsbury team.
“There were a few lads getting a chance on Sunday and they’ve come close and should have beaten Sheffield, who are sat second in the table, and there are a few established players that were left out at the weekend, so that gives us a bit of competition for places that we maybe didn’t have a few weeks ago.”
Several players have been running with knocks in recent weeks with Tom Garratt missing out against Sheffield but he is expected to return this weekend, while Sam Day hobbled off last week and is a concern.
Meanwhile, a number of fringe players in the Rams squad have been sent out on loan to League One sides for more regular action.
Charlie Martin is heading to Hunslet, while both Toby Richardson and Jacob Thomas will spend the next month with Coventry Bears.
Richardson signed for the Rams from Dewsbury Moor towards the end of last season while Thomas made the move from Australia for this year, but the pair have made only one appearance each so far this season.
“As it panned out, maybe Toby would have got a chance on Sunday, but it’s definitely better for his development to go there and play three or four games,” said Greenwood.
“He’s a young forward who came to the club last year from the amateur game and played a few games in the last part of the season. But the Championship is a step up this year, there’s no bottom eights where you’re just playing the teams around you, they’re all very tough.
“I want to turn Toby into a regular Championship forward. He’s from the area and I think he’s got the right attitude to succeed. He knows himself he’s got a lot of things to work on but his attitude is right to do that.
“Jacob struggled to get the games. His utility value sometimes doesn’t help him, because he can cover three or four different positions and he’s happy to play anywhere, but that’s probably stopped him nailing one and really going for it.
“These conditions are different to what he’s ever come across, it’s slower than what he’s used to but a lot more physical as well, so it’s different to what he’s come across in Australia.
“I’m interested to see him as the grounds firm up, but for him it’s a good chance now to go play games, which is what he’s come over to this country for.”
The club also confirmed this week that forward Matt Nicholson has been released from his contract.
The prop suffered some injury problems over pre-season after re-joining the club, and has since been unable to force his way into the first-team picture.