DEWSBURY Rams are counting the cost of a mounting injury list following last Sunday’s final pre-season game against Bradford Bulls.
Ed Barber limped out of the action in the second half and he has damaged ankle ligaments, scrum-half Scott Spavin was carried off in the first half having been knocked unconscious in a tackle, while centre Ayden Faal is struggling with a wrist problem.
Cain Southernwood was already ruled out for several weeks following a wrist operation while hooker Luke Blake missed the game with an Achilles problem.
Faal was among the try scorers in the 42-16 defeat by Bradford and he has scored three tries in the Rams two pre-season games. He is having weekly injections in the hope the wrist injury settles down.
Coach Warren Jowitt said: “I’m glad we have no more friendlies after the injuries we’ve picked up but the saving grace is we now have three weeks off before the start of the Northern Rail Cup.”
Bradford rolled out the majority of their Super League stars for last week’s friendly and built up a 30-0 half-time lead as scrum-half Luke Gale produced a brilliant display.
However, Rams officials have studied the video and it appears that three Bulls tries should have been disallowed while a fourth saw Phil Joseph impede Matthew Tebb in the build-up.
Jowitt added: “Three Bradford tries came from forward passes and another would have been chalked off had there been a video referee as Tebb was taken out of the equation.”
Dewsbury deserve huge credit for the way they fought back after the break and they ‘won’ the second half 16-12 after tries from Faal, impressive centre Ryan Esders and hooker George Flanagan.
Jowitt said: “The second half was a massive positive for us as we kept going and didn’t cave in.
“We let ourselves down in defence. Bradford brought their full side and we knew they would be bigger, stronger and faster than us but defensively we were not good. You can’t afford to miss tackles against a strong Super League outfit but we did cause them problems.
“Offensively we were very good and had a completion rate of 72 per cent in the first half, when we created five scoring chances.
“Mick Wainwright took the wrong option on two occasions, one when he should have got his head down and gone straight for the corner. Jermaine Akaidere fluffed a chance and Mark Barlow was pulled back when he had a clear run to the line.”
Esders also had an effort ruled out for a forward pass but he was one of the better players and fully deserved his second half try.
Winger Andy Smith was another to come out of the game with a good deal of credit and has staked a claim for a place in the Rams starting line up for the first Northern Rail Cup game against last season’s beaten finalists Halifax on February 12.
Dewsbury have re-signed forward Matthew Nicholson on dual- registration from Leeds Rhinos.
The 20-year-old played four games for the Rams last season. He was not involved in either of the Rhinos’ friendlies last weekend, as he completed paperwork which will see him return to Tetley’s Stadium, and he will be available for the Northern Rail Cup games.