‘Failed policy’ of big spending has backfired on Featherstone says Kelly

Dewsbury 'Rams coach Neil Kelly.  Picture Tony Johnson.
Dewsbury 'Rams coach Neil Kelly. Picture Tony Johnson.

OPPOSITION COACH Neil Kelly has stoked the fire ahead of tomorrow’s Betfred Championship Shield derby at Featherstone Rovers (3pm).

The Dewsbury Rams boss has accused Rovers of pursuing a “failed policy” of spending big money to buy success and of being part of a “boom and bust” culture.

Rovers fielded only 14 players in their win over Leigh Centurions two weeks ago and 16 last time out when they beat Sheffield Eagles.

Star players Tom Holmes and Gareth Hock have been released since Featherstone failed to secure a place in the Qualifiers, but Kelly has no sympathy. He said: “It is their fault they can’t field a full team.

“They sign one player for what we sign three on for. Players deserve credit [for Rovers winning with under-strength teams], but the club doesn’t deserve any credit for it. It is a by-product of pursuing a failed policy, of going into the season with big ambitions and putting the brakes on when you don’t achieve those.

“The game’s also at fault for putting too much prize money on offer. That encourages clubs to pursue a top-four place and clubs are wrong to pursue the policy of doing it by spending more money than is sustainable.”

Rams are fourth in the Shield table and aiming for a third successive win.

Kelly said: “We are in decent form and I think we are going to Featherstone, who have beaten us twice this season, with nothing to lose and everything to gain.

“I don’t see any reason why we can’t go and give a good account of ourselves.”

Rovers boss John Duffy insisted injuries are why he hasn’t been able to field 17 players. He said: “When you’ve only got that number of players to put on the field that’s all you can do.

“We have had a lot of injuries and they haven’t been short-term injuries.”

Duffy said Rovers have benefited from the long turnaround following the win at Sheffield eight days ago and added: “Dewsbury are on the back of a couple of good results, they are playing with a lot of confidence and we’ve got to make sure we’re at our best.”