For the first time in 2018, Toronto Wolfpack play back-to-back home games as they take on Dewsbury Rams in round 17 of the Betfred Championship.
After a big win last week against London Broncos, the Wolfpack will be looking to defend the den once again this Saturday and welcome the 9th placed Rams to the city of Toronto, who come into the game desperate to turn their season around.
Dewsbury have been arguably the surprise strugglers in the Championship so far. After a strong second half to their 2017 campaign, Neil Kelly’s men find themselves under pressure to perform towards the end of the current season once again in a bid to salvage the year.
With just one win in their last thirteen matches across all competitions, the Rams sit just three points above 12th placed Rochdale and will be coming to Canada looking to make a real statement and claim a big scalp by handing Toronto a first home defeat in the club’s history.
For Toronto, the focus is on improving on last week’s patchy display to make it two from two at Lamport Stadium and maintain their five-point advantage over Toulouse at the top of the table.
Despite their lowly league position, the Rams will certainly provide a staunch test of Toronto, and the hosts will have to be extra cautious of the wounded Rams.
Having struggled with numerous injuries throughout the season, Dewsbury have got a number of their key players back on deck and will certainly have plenty of motivation this weekend, eager to exact revenge for their 23-12 defeat to Toronto on their own patch back in round 11.
Dewsbury are an extremely proud club and boast a wealth of ex-Super League experience. Paul Sykes is one of the most decorated campaigners still running around and the former England international sits alongside the likes of Kyle Trout and Dale Morton, who know what it takes to play at the highest level.
Combine that experience with the exuberance of youth that the visitors have at their disposal and they become a very dangerous opponent for Paul Rowley’s men this week.
The Wolfpack have seven more home games before the start of the Super 8s competition, and will be looking to go unbeaten at home, to ultimately clinch top spot in the league.
However, Head Coach Paul Rowley remained as focused as ever on the task in hand and insisted that he wasn’t looking any further ahead than the next performance for his side. He said:
“I won’t look past this game really; that’s it.
“I’m not too bothered about looking ahead at potential achievements or records, this game is another game in the way of what we want to achieve and I just want to beat Dewsbury this week.”
Rowley was aware of the threats Dewsbury have in their line up and was adamant that an improvement from last week was necessary to beat the West Yorkshire outfit. He added:
“The old campaigner (Paul) Sykes leads them around and they have young (Jode) Sheriffe and then (Shannon) Wakeman from Huddersfield who lay the platform in the middle so we need to do a job on them and keep them quiet.”
One of the main drawbacks from last week’s exciting Home Opener was an injury to vice captain Ashton Sims, who limped off inside the opening minutes of the game. Rowley provided an update on the Fijian international as well as some potential team changes ahead of another important game. He explained:
“Ashton Sims has a calf injury. We’re awaiting the return of his scan but we’re hopeful that it won’t be too long a lay off for him.
“I’ll make one or two changes; Darcy Lussick will play this week and maybe one or two more as I’m keen to freshen a few of the boys up.”
19 man squad to follow: