Head coach Neil Kelly spoke after the pre-season defeat against Huddersfield Giants. The Rams lost 32-22 at the John Smith’s Stadium.

You must be pretty happy with the performance today Neil.

“Yes, I’ve looked at other Championship sides, which have played Super League teams in friendlies, and there have been some heavy scorelines, including Halifax at Wakefield.

“I wasn’t overly worried about the result of today’s game, as I am more bothered about the performance of the team. The performance has really pleased me today though.

Which players stood out for you today?

“I thought the star of the show for Dewsbury was Michael Knowles. He was exceptional for us, whether that was in the second row or at scrum half, where he played for the last 20 minutes. I thought he dictated the competitiveness of the side and forced players to get involved which weren’t involved.

“I’m also really pleased with Toby Everett, Jack Teanby and Martyn Reilly . Martyn is surprising me, even though I signed him, he’s surprising me in the way he’s coming forward. I’m also pleased with Jode Sheriffe and Macauley Hallett. All of the forwards gave a good account of themselves.

It must be pleasing to come back into the game from a 22-6 deficit at half-time.

“At the point where they went 22-6 up, I sent the message on to say that I wasn’t happy with the scoreline and that we were conceding tries too easily.

“I always knew that Huddersfield were going to have some younger players playing in the second half, but saying that we still played a quality side and gave a good account of ourselves. We come away from this game with many positives.

What will your approach be for next Sunday against Bradford Bulls?

“Obviously, with it being our final pre-season game, I’m just toying with the idea of using 17 players. This is just to make sure that the players are able to have a good amount of time on the field. Using the full squad in a friendly, you don’t really get to test yourself over a longer period in the game.

“I think that this was a good step up from the Batley game though. I know Bradford have recruited well and I think they have a far stronger side than they had last season. It will be another stern test, but I am happy with where we are at the moment.

The Bradford game is also Paul Sykes’ testimonial game. How important has he been during your time at the club?

“Well, he’s been massive. To be honest I didn’t know if we could work together, as we have never worked together in the past. I’ve got to say though, that he has adapted his own game and he is still an influential player in the side and why we wanted to re-sign him for this season.

“He is already proving his worth this season, and in the absence of Gareth Moore today, who was ill. His goal kicking alone is well worth keeping him, but he is a great influence and I am really pleased to be at the club while he is celebrating his testimonial.

Dewsbury Rams complete their pre-season schedule at home against Bradford Bulls next Sunday. Kick off is at 3pm. Entry is by payment on the turnstiles on the day.

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