TWENTY ONE years after he coached them for the first time, Neil Kelly is back in charge at Dewsbury Rams.
Kelly, 54, has been appointed Rams’ coach to succeed Glenn Morrison who left the club last month.
A former Dewsbury player, he took over as team boss before the first summer season in 1996 and led them to the Northern Ford Premiership title - equivalent of today’s Kingstone Press Championship - in 2000.
Rams were twice league leaders under Kelly and also reached the Grand Final in 1999. He left to join Widnes Vikings in 2001 and they were promoted to Super League in his first year there.
Super League coach of the year the following season, he also had a spell in charge of Wales and a later stint at Leigh Centurions.
Since 2010 he has worked in international rugby union, with Namibia and Romania.
Kelly said: “If you asked me which club do you support or feel closest to, I would say Dewsbury.
“I have an affinity with them going back 36 or 37 years and I’ve followed their fortunes as much as you can when you are coaching other teams.
“I’ve seen them do well on some occasions and not so well on others and I’ve noticed a bit of a decline over the last 18 months.
“The writing was probably on the wall for the previous coach and I feel the time is right to come in and get my hands dirty again.”
Rams have lost all their nine Championship fixtures this season. Kelly will be in charge for the first time at home to Batley Bulldogs on Good Friday.
He added: “It is a big job, a really big challenge, but I have never been scared of a challenge and I hope the players aren’t.
“The situation they’re in has been partly created by their own doing and the club’s own doing.
“They are doing things wrong in some areas, but large amounts of things right.
“We need to keep those and tidy up the areas they’ve been doing wrong.”