AFTER Dewsbury Rams made the Championship play-offs for a second successive season, we asked coach Glenn Morrison to look back on a memorable year for the club.
In a year in which the club is celebrating its 20th aniversary at Owl Lane, it was an equally historic season on the field as the Rams finished sixth in the second tier standings, clinching a home tie in the first round of the play-offs.
The Tetley’s Stadium outfit knew it was always going to a challenge to reach the 2014 finals series, with investment in players at a new high amongst division’s clubs.
With promotion to the Super League competition on the cards, Morrison’s men set their stall out early with an opening day win over title favourites Featherstone Rovers.
Anthony Thackeray’s last-minute drop-goal gave the Rams an 11-10 victory, in a game which remained scoreless until the 51st minute.
From round one onwards Dewsbury went on an impressive run of form, seeing off Rochdale Hornets 42-12 at their own ground, before defeating Doncaster 20-12 at the Keepmoat Stadium.
The season was full of highs and lows for Morrison’s men, and it wasn’t all plain sailing on their way to attaining their sixth-placed finish.
Losses at Swinton and Keighley as well as a defeats both home and away against Whitehaven, meant the side had to win some difficult games to finish in the top eight.
And so they did with further wins against Halifax and a memorable double over local rivals Batley Bulldogs – which began with a 43-10 drubbing of their Heavy Woollen neighbours at the Tetley’s Stadium.
Former NRL star Morrison says he was delighted with the season as a whole and added: “I’m very pleased with how the season has gone for us this year, we are looking for improvement on and off the field and I think we have achieved that.
“We’ve got to the finals and achieved all of the goals we have wanted to achieve.
“Our aim is to build on the field but also off of the field and our recruitment drive continues to bring in quality players, so that can only improve our squad.
“I was extremely pleased that the presentation night sold out because it shows that the fans are interested in the club.
“It was a good night for the players and it is good for them as well as the fans who have given us great support this season.”
The 2014 season also saw a new challenge for Morrison’s troops, with a cup tie against top-tier opposition.
After drawing defending champions Wigan Warriors, few would have expected the performance the Rams produced, as they went toe-to-toe with the cherry and whites for 60 minutes.
Although the tie ended in a one-sided 58-6 scoreline the hosts put in a good show and that is something Morrison was immensely proud of.
“We have had some really good games this year. We gave Wigan a great game in the Challenge Cup at home,” he continued.
“We also did the double over our rivals Batley Bulldogs.
“We have beaten all of the teams in our league bar Leigh and we have gone from being happy to get a bonus point against the top clubs, to knowing we can beat them.
“We brought in some very good players this year in positions where we felt we needed to strengthen and they have done their jobs.
“It has been a real squad effort but obviously there’s been some great individual performances as well.
“Thacks (Anthony Thackeray) has been outstanding and Shane Grady has come in and done exactly what we have needed from him, it has been a real improvement.”