Dewsbury Rams are the latest team that will be looking to halt Toronto Wolfpack’s progress in the Betfred Championship, as the teams face off on Sunday in Round 11 of the competition (K.O 3:00pm BST / 10:00am EDT).
A week on from coming from behind to beat the Rams’ nearest and dearest rivals Batley on the slope at Mount Pleasant, the Wolfpack head to the Tetley Stadium top of the pile after six straight wins in the league and seven in all competitions.
For the second successive weekend the Pack visit the Heavy Woollen District of Yorkshire to face another side with a rich history in the sport of rugby league.
The club formed in 1875 but first joined the new Northern Union in 1898 and adopted the famous red, amber and black as their playing colours. Their first major success in rugby league came in 1912 when they beat Oldham in the Challenge Cup Final at Headingley; they have won the competition twice.
Dewsbury have the honour of playing the first Challenge Cup final at Wembley in 1929 and are one of only two sides in history to go through an entire league campaign unbeaten after winning all 18 matches of their League 1 season in 2009.
They have been a stalwart of the Championship ever since and the Rams will certainly pose another huge test of Toronto’s credentials as promotion candidates and will be looking to raise their game for the visit of the current league leaders after a hit and miss 2018 so far.
Dewsbury currently sit just below Batley in eighth place with three wins but have been one of the unfortunate sides early in the year, falling victim to a number of postponements due to England’s long winter.
Despite having a number of injuries to some key personnel, Neil Kelly’s men will be no easy beat and will test the Wolfpack both in the middle and on the flanks.
Rams captain Paul Sykes is arguably the most experienced half backs still playing the game and steers the side around masterfully and with young guns Josh Guzdek and former Leeds Rhino Robbie Ward playing in the fullback and hooking role respectively. Dewsbury certainly have the attacking potency to cause the Wolfpack some real issues.
Toronto Wolfpack Head Coach Paul Rowley was happy with how his side have been travelling in recent weeks, but knew that they would have to perform well again to overcome the Rams. He said:
“The effort that the boys have made in turning up and playing at these intimidating grounds has been huge so far. Dewsbury will be no different. The crowd is right on top of you and the pitch is going to be tight this week.
“Dewsbury are a big physical side and very well coached and we’ll have to work really hard for anything we get this week.
“They (Dewsbury) have had a tough run so far against quality opposition so some of their results are a bit misleading. Being at home will be a big advantage to them and they are very tough and aggressive with some good ball players on the back of it.
“We like to play expansively but you can’t go around teams at Dewsbury so we’ll need to go through them this weekend and front up.”
Toronto Wolfpack 19 Man Squad:
2 Jonny Pownall
3 Greg Worthington
5 Liam Kay
6 Josh McCrone
7 Ryan Brierley
8 Jack Buchanan
9 Bob Beswick
10 Ashton Sims
13 Jack Bussey
14 Andy Ackers
15 Adam Sidlow
16 Reni Maitua
19 Adam Higson
21 Olsi Krasniqi
22 Rich Whiting
23 Nick Rawsthorne
28 Sam Hopkins
31 Gareth O’Brien
33 Chase Stanley