Updated: Feb 18
North Wales Crusaders take on Dewsbury Rams in the opening game of what is looking like a very promising 2023 for the Cru. With an off season change of coach and multiple exciting new signings, there are plenty of fresh faces for the fans to see on Sunday. Fans favourite Rob Massam is closing in on a major milestone as he needs only 2 more tries to take his career haul to 200, with 164 of those coming over his 2 spells in North Wales.
The last time the two teams met was back in July 2014, with Dewsbury claiming the points in a tight game that finished 22-18 at The Rock in Wrexham. Last season the Rams were relegated alongside Workington Town, having finished in 13th position with 7 points. Regardless of that, Dewsbury are hotly tipped to be there or thereabouts at the top of the table in League 1 this season.
Incoming Crusaders Head Coach Carl Forster has assembled what looks to be a strong squad for the season. In the first of 2 pre-season friendlies, Crusaders took on Barrow Raiders in a testimonial for Raiders hooker Nathan Mossop and put in a competitive performance, taking the lead just after half time, before shipping points late in the game to a strong 25 man Barrow squad. New recruit Jordan Andrade went over for two tries, with another new face Kieran Taylor also going over and Brad Brennan grabbing the other try.
In the second Pre-season game Crusaders took on a youthful Warrington Wolves side at Halliwell Jones stadium and after a disappointing first half which saw us go in for half time trailing 14-4, a strong second half resulted in a 20-20 draw with Brad Brennan again putting in a big performance, Kieran Taylor grabbing the first, Pat Rainford getting over the line and St Helens loanee Wesley Bruines scoring two tries, including the late score to tie the game.
Ahead of the Dewsbury game, Carl Forster shared his thoughts on how preseason has gone, saying: “Overall preseason has been pretty good. I knew at the start we were probably 3 or 4 weeks behind just due to recruitment of players and turnover of coaching staff so we still have a bit of catch up work to do."
"We are a club that trains twice a week so we've just got to work that little bit harder than everyone else but that's what we pride ourselves on and as a coach I couldn't ask for any more from the lads."
"Now we are just looking forward to getting into that week in, week out game time and seeing how the boys rip up after such a good preseason and all the effort that's gone in.”
New captain Callum Hazzard is upbeat about the upcoming season, saying: “We want to win the league."
"As a minimum we want to finish third to match last season but our aim definitely has to be to win the league."
Tickets can be purchased online at the following link and fans will also be able to pay on the gate-
Photo courtesy of Warrington Wolves