WARM EMRACE: Brad Watkinson, right, and Josh Tonks, left, congratulate match-winner Aaron Brown
HEAD COACH Glenn Morrison could not have timed Aaron Brown’s return any better.
The Australian had held back the Dewsbury talent’s return as the former Leeds Rhino suffered from an ongoing knee problem.
But with Rams’ play-off hopes hanging by a thread – and opponents Hunslet fighting for survival – the half-back or loose forward was unleashed.
An instant impact from the bench, Brown more than delivered, claiming the man of the match award following a superb two-try display.
Though rock bottom of the Championship, the Hawks could not be underestimated.
Any doubters were reminded of the threat a smarting outfit, now winless in 12, can pose as the Hawks opened their account on 14 minutes.
Winger Lee Mapals was the scorer, having intercepted a wild Bobbie Goulding pass to race the length of the field, but Hunslet proved unable to build on their advantage.
Despite enjoying the vast majority of territory and possession, the visiting Hawks were hindered by their own attacking frailties.
In desperate need of points, and ultimately victory, boss Morrison threw Brown and incredibly his fellow three substitutes into the fray prior to the half-hour.
COMING THROUGH: Prop Makai Aizue on the charge
A player of the year candidate already, Brown justified a rumoured new two-year deal, making his presence known within seconds of being brought on.
Ryan Hepworth had gone close shortly after Hunslet’s first effort, but it took Brown to finally help Dewsbury off the mark on the stroke of half-time.
And he did so following a dart out of acting half by substitute hooker Adam O’Brien, who had been held up over the line minutes prior.
Karl Pryce powered over with just seconds of the first half remaining to ensure a 10-6 interval lead.
And a Gregg Scott touchdown, two minutes after the start of the second half, appeared to have sunk the Leeds-based side.
The Hawks were 16-6 down with less than half an hour left on referee Job Cobb’s watch, Goulding adding extras to the Rams’ second and third tries.
But Barry Eaton’s men refused to throw in the towel, the one-time Dewsbury star seeking to cause a massive upset on his former home turf.
And Leeds Rhinos loanee Jimmy Keinhorst, a Challenge Cup finalist last season, put the Hawks within touching distance with as he crossed for a self-converted try.
Ram Brown cancelled out the three-quarter’s score on the hour.
But still that wasn’t enough to deter Hunslet.
Despite Dale Morton going close, after a Kiran Hyde break from the restart, Hawk Mapals set up a tense finish.
His score reduced the arrears to just four, with 12 minutes remanning.
But Dewsbury, who had two tries chalked off by the man in the middle, held on, repelling a host of assaults during the game’s closing stages, as Mapals’ double proved inadequate in terms of the Hawks gaining their first points in three months.
RAMS: Dale Morton 8; James Craven 7; Karl Pryce 8; Brad Watkinson 7; Gregg Scott 8; Kieran Hyde 7; Bobbie Goulding 8; Ryan Hepworth 8; Kane Bentley 8; Stephen Nash 8; Josh Tonks 7; Scott Hale 7; Rob Spicer 7. Subs: Aaron Brown 9; Adam O'Brien 9; Makali Aizue 8; Tommy Gallagher 9.
Tries: Brown (35, 60), Pryce (38), Scott (43).
Goals: Goulding 2/4
HAWKS: Stuart Kain 7, Waine Pryce 7, Jimmy Keinhorst 8, Liam Welham 7, Lee Mapals 9, Thomas Coyle 7, James Coyle 8, Andy Yates 7, David March 8, Luke Menzies 7, Tommy Haughey 7, John Oakes 7, John Houston 7. Subs: Luke Haigh; Danny Grimshaw 7; Lee Brickwood 7; Chris Clough 7.
Tries: Mapals (15, 67), Keinhorst (50).
Goals: March 1/2, Keinhorst 1/1
Referee: Joe Cobb
ThePress Man of The Match: Aaron Brown – The playmaker made a stunning return to action
Weather: Overcast & Windy
Match Rating: 3/5
By Ryan Sparks