Hooker Robbie Ward is relishing the Rams’ first full season under head coach Neil Kelly, after seeing the team’s fortunes reversed following a poor start to 2017.

Under Kelly’s stewardship, Ward was one of the key catalysts behind the Rams’ revival that saw them climb out of the relegation places, and finish the season as semi-finalists in the Championship Shield.

“It was a tough start,” said Ward.

“We only picked up one or two wins, and that meant it was a tough time to be at the club. When we were playing every week and getting beat, and beat badly, it wasn’t fun at all.

“Neil came in and turned us around and towards the back end of last season we went from winning only one or two games to only losing the odd match.

“We went on a terrific run of form.”

And the former Leeds Rhinos player believes that there’s an opportunity for Dewsbury to make further progress in the months ahead.

“I think you could pick six or seven teams to finish in that top four this time around, so it will be tough to get in there.

“Every club will be dreaming of a top four finish this year, and we are no different, but we are simply focused on finishing as high as we can and performing well each week.

“If we start the season like we finished last year I believe this team can go far, and that anything is possible.”

From a personal perspective, Ward says he’s eager to sharpen his running and kicking game.

“I thought I did OK last season,” he said.

“I had a starting spot for the majority of the year, so I was pleased with that, but, by the back end of last year, I had a few knocks and due to injuries I was left out of a few games,

“But overall, I was happy with my display last season, and going into this season I’d like to improve my running and kicking game a bit.

“I’ll be working hard in pre-season to bring these areas up to scratch.”