By Trevor Watson
DEWSBURY Rams will not be among the clubs competing for Great Britain prop Danny Ward.
Ward, who was sacked by Leeds Rhinos this week, has attracted considerably attention from clubs at all levels, including Batley Bulldogs. However, the Rams feel they have enough cover for the front row positions.
Chairman Mark Sawyer said: “Under normal circumstances we would be very interested in a player such as Danny Ward. Looking at the players we have already signed, at this stage he would not be a priority.”
The Rams already have Frank Watene, Matt and James Walker and Jason Southwell as established props while Warren Jowitt and Jonlee Lockwood have also played there.
The Rams play the last of their pre-season fixtures as they meet Bramley Buffaloes at Tetley’s Stadium on Sunday (3pm). It is a game the players offered to take part in as a ‘thank you’ gesture to the supporters and the intention is to play as near a full-strength squad as possible.
Admission prices have been reduced. The admission is 6 to stand with 2 concessions, or 8 and 4 for seating. There will be no programmes but team sheets will be handed out to spectators.
The players have been provided with training kits, track suits, waterproofs and tops by the supporters’ Squadbuilder Fund and offered to play an extra game for nothing as part of their contribution to the fund.
Mr Sawyer said: “It is another example of everybody working together. The players were delighted with the kit and decided to offer something in return.”
Coach Andy Kelly said: “Everybody who is fit will play on Sunday. I don’t believe in having a game and not using the people you have available. We may change the combinations but everyone will play.”
Full-back Ian Preece is struggling with a back problem and will miss out and Jowitt, who has had injections in his troublesome back, will not be risked. Ryan Sheridan will also sit things out.
The squad will include new signing John Oakes from Dewsbury Celtic, who has shown plenty of promise in run-outs against Batley and Bradford Bulls. Kelly added: “John is a young player from the locality and he is getting some exposure in the first team which will be of great benefit to him and he is relishing it.
“The players have worked hard and the last 15 minutes against Bradford were a step forward in the confidence levels. Without that we would have struggled in terms of a positive outlook but the football they played was quite exciting and they will have learned a lot from it about how they play as a team. There is a bit of uncertainty at times but you can see things developing.”
The club have obtained new software which will enable players to take a DVD home after matches and study their own performance.
In another example of someone seeking to back the Rams, one of the club’s keenest supporters, Keith Boffin, in a remarkable gesture, is risking his own money to raise more funds for the Squadbuilder.
At his own expense Keith has booked the pop group The Manfreds, formerly Manfred Mann, to appear at The Frontier at Bradford Road, Batley on Monday, March 20.
Tickets are a bargain 15 and available from the Rams office on Owl Lane or The Frontier. Any profit from the venture will be given to the Squadbuilder. If the venture is a failure Keith stands to be well out of pocket.