DEWSBURY coach Warren Jowitt is relishing the prospect of locking horns with a Halifax side he believes to be the best in the Co-operative Championship when the two meet at the Shay on Sunday (3.0).
Jowitt has overseen a dramatic change in the Rams’ fortunes so far this season after a campaign of turmoil last time out left them flirting too close to the danger zone for his liking.
And now he brings his form side to Halifax looking not only to measure how much progress the Rams have made, but also with the hope of achieving the victory that would take them to the top of the table.
“We have started well and I have been delighted by the attitude of the players both in training and on match days,” said Jowitt.
“I have brought 15 new players in who want to play for the club. The calibre of players we have now is superb and all have a much better mindset.
“I think that is one of the major differences from last season, to be honest. The team spirit is fantastic and the good start we have made is down to sheer hard work.
“All the players want to go that extra step which as a coach is something you want to see. Players are training and playing games with smiles on their faces. Everybody is doing things on the pitch that are beyond the call of duty.
“Last season if somebody made a mistake then there was nobody to back them up. Then somebody else would make a mistake and everybody would be pointing fingers.
“There has been none of that this season - if somebody does make a mistake then there will always be somebody to clean up behind them.
“The team spirit is very important and it is buzzing at the moment.”
The Rams raised a few eyebrows when they beat strongly-fancied Keighley 29-22 last Sunday - the same day Fax caused their own stir by beating Featherstone 60-12 at Post Office Road.
And that, Jowitt believes, has set up what should be a cracking clash between two buoyant teams.
“I am looking forward to it because I have said right from the beginning that Halifax would be the team to beat and they are proving it,” he said.
“Not only are Halifax arguably the strongest team on paper, but out on the pitch as well.
“It was a big result against Featherstone, but we also played well against Keighley and fully deserved to win.
“I believe it will be a good game. These are the teams you want to be playing against and I want to see just how far we have come since last season.
“Don’t get me wrong, we are keeping our eyes on the fact that we could go top of the league, but for me the most important thing at this stage is to check our progress.”
Jowitt will choose from a fully-fit squad - another aspect of his job which has changed from last season.
“It is a luxury but it gives me a headache all the same,” he added.
“Last season I had 17 to choose from every week and now I am selecting from 26 which is a nice problem to have.”