Young Dewsbury Rams get their big chance

James Craven, who was new Dewsbury Rams coach Glenn Morrison's first signing in September, will take the full-back's No 1 jersey this season.

James Craven, who was new Dewsbury Rams coach Glenn Morrison's first signing in September, will take the full-back's No 1 jersey this season.

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Dewsbury Rams coach Glenn Morrison admits there are some surprises after he unveiled his squad numbers for 2013.

The head coach is well on the way to starting his first competitive action at the club after spending the winter recruiting and assembling his troops for the Championship campaign ahead.

Supporters have got a first look at how that squad is shaping up after Morrison revealed who will be wearing which shirts.

There are some notable omissions from the starting XIII with former captain and longest-serving player Austin Buchanan named at 21 and ex-Leeds Rhinos Academy prop Ben Jones, who had such a big impact this year, handed the 22 jersey.

However, both have been recovering from injuries and Morrison said: “I spoke to Austin and Ben about their numbers.

“They’re both senior players and I think can understand what we’re trying to do.

“They’ve both been training very hard, but the other boys have been in full swing and have worked through the full programme.

“Both of them were happy for the younger boys who’d trained day in, day out to get that starting number, which is a credit to them.

“Those boys deserve their numbers and I was happy to go with it.”

Player-of-the-year James Craven, who was the first to sign under Morrison in September, has been awarded the No 1 jersey and looks set to continue his progress in the full-back position next season.

New signings Dale Morton and Scott Hale fill the No 2 and 3 jerseys, respectively, while two new faces will fill the half-back jerseys in 2013, as former Leeds Academy star Aaron Brown takes six and Jy-mel Coleman is named at seven.

“The other interesting thing I guess is that the front-row were all team-mates at Wakefield, who know each others’ games,” added Morrison, with Tom Lillycrop (8), Ryan Wright (9) and Russ Spiers (10) transferring from his Wildcats’ Under-20s side of last year.

“I think that’s just the way it worked out, though. They’ve all deserved that for the way they’ve trained, although it is by no means a guarantee that they will start every match.

“The most important point I emphasised to the players is that it’s the badge on the front of the shirt that they are representing, not the number on the back.

“But, where possible, I’ve tried to accommodate the players’ preferences, and combined that with how far along I feel each of them is.

“I said to the boys beforehand that I couldn’t pick in some cases, which shows just how hard so many members of this squad have been working during pre-season.

“We’re all working as one and everybody is happy with why they are where they are in the squad but, at the same time, they realise that it’s only a number.

“Everybody will get their chance if they work hard – old or young – and I said to them at the start that whoever puts in the most will get the most out.

“Some might be wondering why Aizue is where he is. Maka wanted No 32 because he says it’s his age, although we’re all fairly sure it’s actually 42!

“He says he still feels that age, though, so we were happy to give it to him!”

RAMS SQUAD 2013: 1 Craven, 2 Morton, 3 Hale, 4 Scott, 5 Akaidere, 6 Brown, 7 Coleman, 8 Lillycrop, 9 Wright, 10 Spiers, 11 Spicer, 12 Tonks, 13 Gallagher, 14 Tebb, 15 Esposito, 16 Hepworth, 17 Schofield, 18 Cosgrove, 19 Beckett, 21 Buchanan, 22 Jones, 23 Spaven, 32 Aizue.

Neil Kelly with Karl Pryce.

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