DEWSBURY RAMS chairman Mark Sawyer says that the appointment of a new head coach will be announced today (Friday).
Former England international Lee Greenwood is reportedly the man set to take on the role, a year after stepping down from Gloucestershire All Golds.
The 38-year-old played for Halifax, London Broncos and Huddersfield Giants in Super League during his playing career, which finished with a spell with Batley.
Greenwood was an assistant at the Bulldogs before a three-year spell as head coach at Gloucestershire, and is now set to fill the vacant seat at the Rams.
Neil Kelly stood down from the post for personal reasons at the end of the 2018 season, and the club have moved quickly to find his successor.
The post was advertised for a week after the end of the campaign, with more than 40 applications coming in.
Interviews took place last week and Sawyer revealed that he has found his man, with the announcement to be made today.
“We’ve concluded the interviews and we’re offering the position to someone, and we’ll be announcing it on Friday,” he said.
Sawyer says that he has been pleased with the candidates that have come forward.
“We had some really good applicants,” he said, adding that they “could have easily appointed” a number of them.
Overall, he said that he was pleased with the process.
Kelly’s decision left the club needing a quick replacement so that focus could turn to preparations for the upcoming campaign, and Sawyer is happy to be able to make the appointment now.
“We got it done as quickly as we could really, in the circumstances,” he said.
“It’s just in time. We couldn’t have left it any longer, with the season on top of us obviously.”
The Rams were still looking to build their squad as the search for a new coach went on, with the first new arrival for 2019 being announced this week.
Highly-rated winger Andy Gabriel has signed a deal to join the club for 2019 from League One side Keighley Cougars, where he finished as their top try-scorer last season.
The 25-year-old says that he’s looking forward to making the step up to Championship level.
He said: “I’m excited to make the step up, it is what I have been pushing for. I have been at Keighley for three years and every year I think I have stepped up. I have learnt a lot from different people at the club.
“Confidence has always been a big thing and I think every year I have just grown in confidence.”
He says that the club had been recommended by a number of people, including Adam Ryder who made the same move from Keighley to Dewsbury in July.
“They spoke well of the club and I know it will be a good move for me. Dewsbury was the ideal club for me to come to.
“They told me it is a very professional environment and all the lads are good, so I can’t wait to get started.
“I have never played against the Rams but whenever I have spoken to anyone about Dewsbury they have always spoken highly of the club.
“I just want to give it a good go and see where I can go.”
Gabriel is predominantly a winger but can play across the three-quarter line if necessary.
“When I was younger playing in the amateur league I did play as a centre.
“I then moved onto the wing position which suits me with my pace and finishing.”
The Rams have also been boosted with another two of the current squad committing for 2019 in the past week.
Martyn Reilly will remain with the club next season, after signing for Dewsbury ahead of the 2018 season from Championship rivals Halifax.
The versatile forward made 11 appearances in all competitions, before a serious knee injury at the beginning of July ruled him out of the rest of the campaign.
He has had a successful knee operation, and the club have wished the 22-year-old “all the best in his recovery”.
Sam Day will also be at the club next season, after the hooker agreed a one-year contract extension.
The 24-year-old had a spell at the club in 2017, on loan from Featherstone Rovers, before signing a permanent deal and making 12 appearances this year.
One player definitely on the way out is winger Gareth Potts, who has agreed to join League One side Hunslet.
The former Batley Bulldogs flyer played 14 times last year, scoring five tries, after an injury-hit first season for the club following his move from Halifax.
Much of last season’s squad are yet to have their futures sorted, but Sawyer says that a few others could be staying at the Tetley’s Stadium.
“Hopefully we might have one or two to announce (today) as well,” he said.
“There are one or two on holiday, and there’s one or two others we need to talk to.”
A number of players are set to move on though, and the chairman is aware of the task ahead for himself and the new coach.
“We’ve got to recruit quite a number of players, probably eight or 10 players, so it’s all hands to the deck sorting that out.”