Dewsbury Rams coach Neil Kelly believes he is ‘90 per cent’ sure of his side who will take on Sheffield Eagles in the opening Betfred Championship game of the season on Friday February 2.
Kelly fielded just 18 players in the Rams final warm-up game against Bradford Bulls last Sunday and saw his side ran in five tries to record a 24-0 victory in difficult conditions.
Speaking after the game, Kelly explained: “I picked my 18 as I did because I wanted it to be as close to an actual league game as possible.
“I wanted to see where people were at regarding game time and fitness and to see whether they could do their jobs.
“They did that against Bradford, which was very good to see, and that squad will be roughly the one you will see playing Sheffield.
“It is still open for other people to claim their place, however I would say that 90 per cent of that side will be playing against the Eagles.”
Despite atrocious weather conditions, Dewsbury played some attractive rugby and scored some impressive tries against a youthful Bulls side as they picked up a first win from their three pre-season matches, which boosts confidence ahead of the Eagles game in two weeks time.
Kelly added: “I think the players played some good football and we scored some very good tries, and, while they were tough conditions to play in, when it did work for us we managed to get over the line.”
Kelly is now determined to see his side get off to a winning start against Sheffield and wants Tetley’s Stadium to become a difficult place for rival teams to visit.
Kelly added: “We want to make this place a tough place to come, we know that people already see it as that, but we want teams to be intimidated when they come here.
“You can’t lose your first game at home if you want this place to be a fortress, so we need to get a win and get off to a good start.”
Dewsbury will have Jared Simpson (Huddersfield) and Jordan Crowther (Wakefield) on loan this season but the pair are yet to join up with the Rams having spent pre-season with their parent clubs.
Kelly added: “They’ll join us soon and that will make the squad stronger than what it already is.
“I don’t know about bringing anyone else in we’ll have to wait and see what happens on that front.”