BOTH COACHES agree recent results will count for nothing when Dewsbury Rams play host to Batley Bulldogs in today’s Heavy Woollen derby (7pm).
Rams are ninth in the Betfred Championship, one place and a single point ahead of their closest and fiercest rivals. Dewsbury coach Lee Greenwood admited: “Neither team’s in great form. We’ve only won two games each in the league and [after the last round] you would have said Batley were in better form than us because they beat Widnes.
“Both teams have played each other when they’ve been at different ends of the table and it doesn’t matter, they just get stuck into each other. I don’t think form comes into it.”
Bulldogs boss Matt Diskin agreed: “It doesn’t count for anything. Dewsbury in the last few years have been our bogey team. They have scraped wins against us, they don’t go away and they stay in the game until the last minute. That’s something we’ve got to be willing to do. We’ve got to be disciplined and carry out the plan for the full-80.”
The tight nature of the table adds spice to today’s clash and Greenwood added: “There’s a lot riding on it, it is not just a derby. We play each other three times and the way the league is shaping we are going to be fighting it out with Barrow, Swinton and Rochdale, unless one of those clubs can go on a run. It is a massive one in terms of the league table and there is the derby element as well.”
Bulldogs proved what they are capable of with their dramatic win over Widnes two weeks ago, but were beaten at League One Doncaster in the Coral Challenge Cup last Sunday. Greenwood observed: “They finished last season on a really good run and through pre-season they went really well. Matt will hope they will click at some point, there is a good team in there and I just hope it is another month before it comes out.”
Diskin described last week’s performance as “shameful” and said “sticking to the plan” is crucial: “We have got really good systems and structures in place and when we stick to them we get rewards. We play tough, attractive rugby which works for us – so why go away from it?”
Dewsbury have signed loose-forward Ellis Robson on a month’s loan from Warrington Wolves, while Huddersfield Giants hooker Reiss Butterworth has been drafted into Bulldogs’ squad on dual-registration.