DEWSBURY coach Warren Jowitt is looking to the coming campaign with confidence after some impressive pre-season performances from his players, despite three defeats.
Jowitt said: “We have developed in each game and this is what friendlies are all about. We assessed each game, fixed some things up and sharpened up other aspects.
“It’s amazing how we had people criticising after we lost at Batley but there have been changes since then and we have improved with each game.
“We had a few lapses in concentration against Wakefield but sorted those out and we played really well against Bradford last Sunday.
“We were winning 12-6 after 45 minutes until I made all those changes and we lost our grip. But I made those changes for my well-being and the well-being of the players.
“It gave the young lads a chance to come up against some Super League opponents and I was more than pleased with last Sunday’s performance as a whole, we were more than a match for them in the first half. We shouldn’t really be beating Super League teams, who are full time and have got the money.
“But I was really pleased with how our players approached the game with their attitude in the dressing room and the warm-up. I can’t wait for the season to start and the players are more than ready to go.
“We still have things to work on, for example we bombed five try-scoring opportunities in the first half last Sunday and we might well have won had we been a bit smarter.”
Jowitt said he had been very impressed with the form of Elliot Cosgrove, who has made a strong challenge for a starting position in the back three and played particularly well there last Sunday, and with Josh Tonks, who has shot to prominence since the unfortunate injury to Luke Blake.
The coach added: “These two give us more competition for places. Last year for some games it was a matter of ‘Who am I going to pick?’
“This time it’s a matter of ‘Who am I going to leave out?’ I want to keep it that way. They have made my job very hard and that can only be a good thing.”
The Rams’ Reserves are due to play a friendly at Featherstone tomorrow and Jowitt said some of the more experienced players would be included to give them game time, among them Adam Hayes, who is still working his way back from a wretched injury spell last season.
Shaun Emblem is another likely to be included and Jowitt remarked: “Shaun is one of the strongest ball carrier I have at the club. But he is still a bit raw, especially on defence but when he gets up and running he will be a tremendous forward.”
For the rest of the squad it will be a weekend off.
The Rams are still in talks with Wakefield Trinity Wildcats regarding some dual registration players but if members of the current squad hit the ground running, there could be problems including them.
The improvement in the weather at least enabled the Rams to earn much-needed cash from pre-season gate receipts. They shared the attendance of just over 2,000 at Mount Plesasant on January 2 and then took all the receipts from the games against Wakefield (1,009) and a very satisfying 1,599 against Bradford.
Dewsbury chairman Mark Sawyer said: “These games are essential. As a club you are back-pedalling all season if you don’t get the friendlies in. It’s the main cash flow all year unless you are lucky with the Challenge Cup. Playing these games has been a big relief.”
The Rams are suggesting any supporters thinking of travelling to Toulouse for the matches next weekend or in August can contact Travel Counsellors who will help with arrangements and will donate cashback to the Rams for any bookings. For more details call Emma on 0845 058 7710 or 07751 881267