DEWSBURY RAMS are focused on catching the teams above them as they prepare to begin their Kingstone Press Championship Shield campaign at home to Rochdale Hornets tomorrow (3pm).
The leading four sides after the next seven rounds will contest the Shield semi-finals with the bottom pair being relegated.
Points carry over from the regular season and Rams begin in fourth place in the Shield table, five points clear of the relegation zone.
The first priority is to avoid the drop, but coach Neil Kelly said: “If we had the semi-finals now we’d be in them and we’d be playing Toulouse away.
“We want to hold on to that and, if we do, we will also secure our place in the league. There’s a double benefit – to stay in the Championship next year and get something tangible from this season with a semi-final appearance or possibly a final.
“We are four points behind Sheffield and six behind Batley and we would like to catch those two, rather than worrying too much about the teams behind us.”
Rochdale begin the Shield in fifth place, a point adrift of Rams. Kelly added: “We do recognise this is going to be a massive game for us in the context of our season.
“We beat them 40-10 a month ago.
“But that was a tough game and we don’t expect anything less this weekend.”