DEWSBURY Rams are relishing the challenge of locking horns with Co-operative Championship high fliers Featherstone Rovers at Tetley’s Stadium on Sunday (kick off 3pm).
Coach Warren Jowitt was delighted with the way his side acquitted themselves in the narrow defeat at Barrow last Saturday and believes the Rams are capable of springing a surprise against big spending Rovers.
He said: “Everyone is looking forward to Sunday, The players are back to the kind of form we showed earlier in the season and when Dewsbury are on form, we can beat anyone in the league.
“The conditions were horrendous at Barrow, with a howling wind and although Dominic (Brambani) missed three goal kicks, he couldn’t be blamed as it was impossible to kick in the first half. One of his attempts was heading between the posts but a big gust of wind blew it sideways – there was nothing he could do about that.
“Austin Buchanan also had a try disallowed when he was ajudged to have hit the corner flag but when we watched the DVD, it is the Barrow player who hits the flag and that could have sealed us the win.”
Jowitt is set to hand a debut to French international stand-off William Barthau after he scored a brace of tries and set up another a Dewsbury Reserves were edged out 28-22 at home to Whitehaven last week. “He looks very exciting and I am looking forward to getting him involved,” Jowitt added.
Dewsbury have also signed highly rated 19-year-old loose forward or back row man Matty Starsfield on a dual registration from Huddersfield Giants.
The former England Schoolboy joined the Giants from Wigan in January but although Huddersfield do not believe he is ready for Super League, he is too good for their academy side.
Jowitt said: “Huddersfield will leave it up to me to decide whether he is good enough to play at Championship level but he has been earning rave reviews.”
All under-16s will be able to watch Sunday’s game for free when accompanied by a paying adult as part of the Co-operative’s Kids Go Free campaign.
A row has erupted between the Rams and Sheffield Eagles over next week’s Championship clash. Both the Eagles’ home venues – Don Valley Stadium and Bramall Lane – are unavailable because of re-seeding and the game is set to be staged at St Mary’s College at Spinkhill, which is on the outskirts of the city near junction 30 of the M1.
Jowitt fumed: “It is an absolute joke and shows that rugby league must be in decline if two professional clubs have to play on a school field. It is just stupidity.
“We have offered to play the game at our stadium and Sheffield have also been offered Wakefield’s ground. Professional rugby league is being brought down a level if Sheffield are allowed to play there.”
Rams chairman Mark Sawyer added: “The RFL have sanctioned the game to be played there. The ground has no stand and no covered seating but there is some terracing and grass bankings.
“We have been told by the council that spectators at our ground can not use a grassed area that has more than a 10 per cent gradient incline.”
A spokesman for the Rugby Football League said: “The RFL have granted Sheffield Eagles permission to play a Co-operative Championship match against Dewsbury at Mount St Mary’s College Spinkhill subject to them meeting certain conditions.
“Sheffield have to ensure the match meets official standards set out by the safety of sports grounds act which includes having a safety officer on duty.”
He added: “The Eagles must also ensure there are concessions for supporters to get food and beverages and there are adequate toilet facilities.
“A number of teams have used undesignated grounds in the past, including Oldham and Blackpool, so this is not an isolated case.”