DEWSBURY Rams could give debuts to dual registration players Aston Wilson and Matt Sarsfield in the Co-operative Championship game against Sheffield Eagles at the strange venue of the Mount St Mary’s College ground, Spinkhill, near Chesterfield tonight (7.30pm).
Coach Warren Jowitt is weighing up his options as the Rams face a sizeable Sheffield side, boosted by a 70-12 success over Hunslet last Sunday, albeit that was played on the far different surrounds of Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane.
Sarsfield is from Huddersfield Giants and Jowitt remarked: “He is highly rated by Huddersfield and is a full-time member of their squad.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how well he goes. With William Barthau and Aston Wilson we have virtually three new players and have to be careful in how we settle them in.
“Playing all three at the same time could be a risk but we have a number of players carrying knocks and this is not the sort of game to include someone who is not fully fit. Sheffield have some big lads and will be full of confidence so we have to match them physically and mentally.”
The Rams suffered a setback on Wednesday when Elliott Cosgrove received a two-match ban and a £50 fine from the Rugby Football League (RFL) disciplinary committee after a dangerous lift in the game at Barrow but there is better news as hooker Luke Blake could return after missing the last two games with damaged ribs.
The fuss over tonight’s venue with Sheffield’s main grounds at Bramall Lane and Don Valley being unavailable because of re-seeding meant the RFL did not officially give the go-ahead for the game to be played at Spinkhill until Wednesday of this week.
It has to be stresssed that while Dewsbury were understandably unhappy with the college ground they had not complained to the league, who were in any case obliged to make their own judgement regarding the criteria for staging professional rugby.
Jowitt’s aim is to get concerns over the venue out of the players’ minds and concentrate on winning.
He stressed: “We have to start playing for the full 80 minutes. We did very well at Barrow but conceded two early tries and I was impressed with the effort and performance against Widnes. We were 32-0 down at half-time against Featherstone but outplayed them in the second half.
“The ability is there but we have to concentrate fully and there must be no easing off.”
Jowitt felt circumstances were against the Rams in the Featherstone game with French newcomer Barthau having an early try disallowed because he did not ground the ball. There was a suspicion Rovers were twice awarded scores when they had not touched down correctly and a try from a kick was offside.
Jowitt remarked: “That’s how things go at times. It gets very frustrating when nothing seems to be going your way but we have to keep working hard and seek to change things. William Barthau had a useful first game. He can speak some English, although occasionally there is a problem communicating, hopefully he will soon get used to the other lads, after all they don’t all speak such good English either.”
Dewsbury were again disappointed with the attendance last Sunday. The crowd of 1,167 for such a good derby fixture was around 300 down on expectations, particularly with Featherstone going so well. While the Rams are on a poor run, they are not playing badly and, like last season, a win could change things dramatically.
n St Mary’s College, Spinkhill is near junction 30 of the M1. Admission prices are adults £10, concessions and children £5. The Rams have few details about facilities at the venue so they are advising supporters with questions to call Sheffield Eagles on 0114 261 0326.