The Kelly Revolution

The award for Championship Coach of the Year may just be wrapped up already. Dewsbury Rams’ Neil Kelly has played an absolute blinder since taking over from Glenn Morrison at the Tetley’s Stadium. With the Rams seemingly dead and buried, second-bottom of the table only due to Bradford’s points deduction, Kelly swooped in and has turned the club around and everything looks to be rosy.

Beating local neighbours Batley Bulldogs at the Summer Bash was the turning point for the Rams, who have won four games from six since then with the defeats coming against promotion-chasing Hull Kingston Rovers and London Broncos. But Kelly has also done well on the recruitment front and they look to have got the better of their deal with the Bulldogs, as Macauley Hallett joined the Rams and Jason Crookes went the other way. Hallett has scored four tries in six games for Dewsbury and has shown the sort of form he was lauded for while playing at Swinton last season. Gareth Moore has also proved to be a shrewd acquisition by Kelly. The scrum-half has been around the Championship scene for a while and the Scottish international has certainly been a big influence in Dewsbury’s change of fortunes. Confidence is blooming all around the Tetley’s Stadium now and with three winnable games coming up, the Rams’ relegation fears could easily be a thing of the past.

Dewsbury currently sit eighth in the Championship table, two points clear of 11th-placed Swinton Lions. They will be hoping for a third win over Batley in the league this weekend, a fourth in all competitions after also beating their nearest and dearest in the Challenge Cup. The Rams are now playing without any fear. They’ve got their mojo back and they’re a dangerous team to come up against, especially when you take into account their enthusiastic forward pack including youngsters Toby Everett and Jack Teanby. The loss of loanee Daniel Igbinedion to Featherstone Rovers will leave a void but they dealt with it rather well by putting 40 points past Rochdale at the weekend. In a very competitive division, the West Yorkshire club cannot afford to take their foot off the gas now. Ahead of the Championship Shield, where Bradford will be hoping to put a good run together and the teams below the Rams will be scrapping for their lives, Kelly will be urging his players to get more points on the board and make their lives a bit more easier when the Super 8s come around.

One thing is for sure, though. If Dewsbury do stay up, it should be classed as one of the greatest escapes in the second tier due to the nature of their performances and how they have turned the tide in such quick time.

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