WHEN Dewsbury Rams signed powerhouse prop Nick Fozzard it raised a few eyebrows in the world of rugby league.
Fozzard’s glittering Super League career saw him involved in some of rugby’s biggest games but having started playing down the road at Shaw Cross, and also represented the Dewsbury and Batley schooloys, he wanted to give something back to his local club.
Weather permitting, Fozzard will make his Rams debut in Sunday’s opening Northern Rail Cup group game against Halifax.
The 34-year-old admits he has enjoyed the new surrounds of pre-season at Dewsbury and is relishing the challenges ahead.
Part of the preparations was a January trip to The Army and despite apprehension for many in the squad, it proved a great success.
Fozzard said: “I’d never been to an Army camp before but it was really beneficial and I can’t stress how much fun it was and helped bring the lads together.
“When you spend a few days away together, you come back stronger having formed new friendships.”
The Rams tackle a Halifax side who have recruited well this time but Dewsbury are confident they can get off to a winning start.
Fozzard added: “Halifax are a good side. They have Karl Harrison as coach and have added some good players but we are confident that we are capable of giving them a game and getting the points.”
Speaking of his new team-mates, Fozzard added: “Craig Cook talks a lot and is very enthusiastic. He is captain with Dwayne Barker and they are also really nice blokes.
“Cain Southernwood will be a good signing for us when he is back from his wrist injury.
“He is a very smart footballer, a good organiser and will take us round the park.”
“I think us having two pre-season games has been perfect as we have a long season ahead.
“Some clubs play too many pre-season games, which I’m not a fan of, and I think for our lads to have played one half in each of the games will be just right.
“It gives you chance to try one or two things out, while gaining some match fitness.”
Fozzard is also enjoying his work as part of the community development team at Tetley’s Stadium.
He goes into schools, along with team-mate Mike Wainwright and development officer James Stephenson, offering advice to youngsters.
Fozzard explained: “It is nice to be able to influence the kids. Hopefully they respect us and look up to us.
“We tell them about healthy eating and looking after themselves and then teach them rugby skills.
“Maybe some will want to take up rugby and others will want to come and watch us but it is all about helping the community and giving the children some positive influences, which may also help them academically.
“In the early days of Super League we used to do similar things but it ended up taking too much time and effecting training, so clubs tapered things down and started employing development officers but I have enjoyed getting back into it.”
Fozzard has won some of the game’s major honours, including two Challenge Cups and a World Club Challenge, but helping Dewsbury acheive glory would surely rank among his most satisfactory moments in the game.