By Trevor Watson
DEWSBURY Rams have suffered another injury setback with second row man Rob Spicer ruled out for at least six weeks after breaking his ribs last Sunday.
Spicer played at centre at Featherstone and did a great job in keeping the home threequarters in check. It was when he went off that the Rovers’ took advantage and pulled away in the late stages.
The Rams expect to have Ayden Faal returning at centre for the Northern Rail Cup trip to Oldham on Sunday (3pm), but full-back James Craven is still out with a dead leg.
The latter’s place was taken last Sunday by Derrell Olpherts for his senior debut and he had a very impressive game.
Coach Warren Jowitt remarked: “Derrell has never played at this level and Featherstone was a massive test for him but he did really well and looks to have a big future.
“With any luck he would also have scored a try, our lads were furious when it was ruled out, I have studied the video and he clearly got the ball down.
“A couple of other decisions went against us, otherwise we would have gone much closer. I was again a bit disappointed with the final outcome but the Halifax and Featherstone games have served a big purpose, things are dropping into place, but we have got to use the lessons learned from those matches in the right manner.”
Sunday’s trip to the tight-knit Whitebank Stadium is a different matter to the first two matches and the players will have to adjust.
Jowitt said: “I have already spoken to our captains, Dyawne Barker and Craig Cook, and stressed to them that it’s essential we get the players in the right state of mind to face up to what will be very much a mental challenge.
“I shall also tell Nick Fozzard that this is a massive come-down to what he’s been used to in Super League and he has got to get his head right.
“This is a good chance for our first win and we have to adopt the correct approach for what will be a totally different game to the previous two.”
Jowitt said he intends to make some changes to give other players a run out and pointed out that of the team which played last Sunday, only Michael Wainwright, Spicer, Josh Tonks and Austin Buchanan were at the Rams last season.
“We had seven players starting their first competitive match and with positional switches, there were 11 changes from the first game and we still had some very good moments.”
He added: “We want to get things right for the start of the league season and players are battling for places. I can shuffle things round a bit but at the same time I am aware of the need to develop cohesion into the team.
“For a long time at Featherstone we played really well in defence. They grabbed a couple of tries to lead 10-6 at half-time and they weren’t the result of bad defence so much as individual players making a mistake. Otherwise we were well organised and snuffed them out.
“The late rush of tries after Rob Spicer went off flattered them because we caused them plenty of problems.”
After the home game against Rochdale a week on Sunday (March 4), chairman Mark Sawyer will present development proposals to supporters for the stadium and adjoining land.
The meeting will start no later than 5.30pm after the post-match presentation and speeches.
The outline plans will be available for viewing and supporters can ask questions.
So far more than 300 people have signed the petition in favour of the plans.