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Battling Rams beaten by Finn’s Halifax Panthers in Betfred Championship opener.

After guiding the Rams to the League One title in 2023, Liam Finn made his return to FLAIR Stadium with his Halifax Panthers side for both sides’ first game of the Betfred Championship season.

With no competitive fixture for five weeks, you’d be forgiven in thinking the Rams would start slow, but it was Perry Whiteley who got the first points of the game after acrobatically collecting a brilliant cross-field kick from Calum Turner to score out wide.

The same combination nearly worked again minutes later when a Turner kick found the hands of Whiteley who offloaded for a Rams player to score, but Whiteley was judged to have been tackled.

Halifax answered back just after the halfway point of the first half when Louis Jouffret scored from close range. Both sides had spells of sustained pressure towards the end of the half but couldn’t make it count and the Panthers took a two-point lead into the break.

Only minutes into the second forty and Jacob Fairbank was sent to the bin for kicking out at Jacob Hookem after being tackled. The Rams took full advantage and took the lead for the second time, when Hookem went over after a quick dart from dummy-half.

Just as Fairbank re-joined the play, Jackson Walker was sent to the bin for a high shot and then it was the Panthers’ turn to take full advantage of the extra man when Joe Keyes went over from close range. Louis Jouffret then scored his second of the afternoon just five minutes after to give Halifax an eight-point lead with fifteen minutes remaining.

The Rams tried everything to get back in the game and Perry Whiteley looked to have scored his second with only minutes remaining but play was pulled back for a knock on. To add to the misery for the Rams, James Woodburn-Hall added another score on the hooter.

After the game Rams Head Coach Dale Ferguson said, “As coaching staff we obviously don’t come out here to lose so we’re very disappointed with that, but if we can turn up week in, week out with that effort and that enthusiasm then we’ll get more wins than not here at home.”

Our next game sees neighbours Batley Bulldogs visit FLAIR Stadium on Good Friday for a Betfred Championship Round Two clash, with kick off at 17:00.

Dewsbury Rams (10): O’Connor, Whiteley, Greensmith, M.Walker, Carr, Hookem, Turner, Beckett, Davies, Bibby, Garside, Dawson, Collinson.

Interchanges: Billington, J.Walker, Hird, Restall (18th)

Tries: Whiteley (14′), Hookem (51′)

Conversions: Turner (1/2)

Yellow Card: J.Walker (56′)

Halifax Panthers (24): Woodburn-Hall, Saltonstall, McComb, Tibbs, Eden, Jouffret, Keyes, Tangata, Inman, Larroyer, Kavanagh, Gee, C.Davies.

Interchanges: Widdop, Fairbank, Lannon, O.Davies, Smith (18th)

Tries: Jouffret (22′, 62′), Keyes (57′), Woodburn-Hall (80′)

Conversions: Jouffret (3/3), Widdop (1/1)

Yellow Card: Fairbank (45′)

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