Barrow Raiders v Dewsbury Rams: Dale Ferguson in head coach mode for first long away trip in new role

Dewsbury Rams in action against Widnes Vikings last Sunday. Photo by Thomas Fynn.Dewsbury Rams in action against Widnes Vikings last Sunday. Photo by Thomas Fynn.
Dewsbury Rams in action against Widnes Vikings last Sunday. Photo by Thomas Fynn.
Dewsbury Rams make the long bus trip to Cumbria on Sunday, April 14 to face Barrow Raiders in round four of the Championship (kick off 3pm) in Dale Ferguson’s first away game as head coach.

The Rams have started the 2024 campaign with three home fixtures, the highlight being the Heavy Woollen derby success over Batley Bulldogs on Good Friday.

However, defeats before that against Halifax Panthers and, more recently, against Widnes last weekend, leaves them looking to bounce back against a Barrow side who have also won once from their opening three games.

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Previewing the game, Ferguson said: “I thought we had taken a massive leap forward from the Batley game but Widnes controlled and respected the ball a lot more than we did and to give a quality outfit like Widnes as much possession as we did, they are going to sting you.

“It’s a tough competition is the Championship this year and if you don’t go out and give 100 per cent or don’t compete for a good 70 minutes of a game then you are probably going to get beat in this competition. We will have to compete in every game this year.

“Any of the Cumbrian sides are a tough place to go to. We will have done the right homework this week in a good couple of training sessions and we will pick our best team to go up to Barrow.”

In a glittering playing career which lasted over 15 years, Ferguson will have had many coach journeys to rugby grounds up and down the country.

But this one will be his first as a head coach.

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“As a player I liked to mess around and play cards with the lads,” he revealed. “Although you have always got to think about the game going up because you have got a job to do.

“But even more so now as a coach I need to approach each player because every player is different in how they approach a game. It’s just getting the understanding of whether you can have a laugh or a talk or if you need to let someone have their own space going up on the bus.

“With me playing with a lot of them last year I sort of know how a lot of them build up to a game anyway.”

Ferguson is hopeful to have Calum Turner (ribs) back in contention having missed the Widnes defeat, although Kieran Rush (hamstring) and Bailey O’Connor (ankle), who were also both absent last Sunday, may be out of action for two and three weeks respectively.

The head coach said: “We have still got quality in our squad. We need to gel and get the combinations right and we need to compete better than we did against Widnes.”