Dewsbury Rams have been mourning the loss of club stalwart Jack Addy and former player Will Forsyth, who both died last week.
Addy, who was a former player, coach and president of the Rams, passed away aged 81 after having suffered from dementia and other health conditions.
Forsyth, 24, had battled with cancer.
Addy’s long association with the club started as a player in the colts, but it was for his time as coach, starting in 1983, that he will be most remembered.
He had two spells in charge, including leading Dewsbury to promotion to the top division.
A Rams’ statement read: “Jack’s association with the club was to continue long after his coaching days had finished, with roles serving the club on the committee, before taking on the role of club president and being a steadying influence throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s.
“He also helped to save the club a lot of money by taking on maintenance jobs that would otherwise have had to be tackled externally, even standing in as head coach for a handful of games when called upon.
“Jack met his partner, Pat, outside of rugby, but he soon made sure she caught the bug and they were a familiar sight together at the games, as well as being regularly mentioned over the tannoy as club sponsors.
“Jack will be sadly missed and our condolences go to Pat, and to all of his friends and to his family.”
Forsyth made his first team debut for the Rams on Sunday March 22, 2015, in a 28-18 Challenge Cup win against Newcastle Thunder.
The utility back also played against Warrington Wolves in the Cup quarter-final defeat in May of that year.
He was an integral part of the successful team that lifted Reserves Championship trophy in the same season with victory over Leigh Centurions in the Grand Final in September.
Former reserves coach Jonathan Schofield said: “Will played a big part in the team.
“He went about his business in a quiet way and was always professional.
“Will was a good lad to coach and he had the respect of us all, especially his team mates.
“He was great to have around the dressing room and he will be sadly missed by everyone.”
Players first says Aston
SHEFFIELD EAGLES coach Mark Aston says players must be put at the forefront of any plan to restart the season.
With Championship and League One clubs looking into the possibility of playing behind closed doors, Aston says a host of issues needs to be taken into account.
Talking on the latest episode of Back Chat, Aston said: “It comes down to cost – if we’ve got to test everybody, can we afford that?
“Then you’ve certainly got to talk about the health and wellbeing of players and mental health.
“If we did start playing in July and have three games a week, what would happen?
“We have to do the right thing by the players and not dilute the quality of the competition.
“If we have to void it then that’s what it’s got to be, and I guess if we’re not back by July then that’s what will happen.
“Or maybe there will be an opportunity to do something else as a little winter competition.
“That’s not what we want to do, but if it’s the right thing then…
“I’ve spoken to players who have holidays booked in October.
“We’ve got to be really sensible here.”
Aston also believes a sense of unity among clubs is crucial.
He added: “There are a lot of areas that are unknown and the sooner we clear it up the better. But I understand some clubs will need revenue to survive.
“At Sheffield we haven’t got our own ground, so our overheads are quite minimal – it doesn’t affect us as much as some other clubs.
“We have to be united and stay together to get through it.”
Roughyeds to show more matches
OLDHAM are hoping to show further classic matches online after the success of re-running their 2019 promotion decider with Newcastle Thunder.
Roughyeds Chairman Chris Hamilton has thanked supporters for getting behind the initiative and raising vital funds for the club in tough times for most people.
Hamilton said: “They are difficult times and we appreciate that it is not just the club that is affected by the situation at the moment, but everybody.
“What it has shown is that we are very much all in it together, and it has demonstrated people’s appreciation of what they have in sporting clubs.
“Because they’ve not been there throughout the coronavirus outbreak, there’s been an appreciation of what people got out of them when matches are being played.
“The Newcastle game was good, the player sponsorship and other initiatives went well and it’s something we’re hoping to repeat.
“There’s the 2015 Grand Final with Keighley and the Challenge Cup win at Hull KR that we’re looking at showing.”
Hamilton says there was a lot of common sense shown at last week’s meeting of Championship and League One clubs.
He added: “The landscape is changing on an almost daily basis, so making any premature decisions was never an option.
“The reason that they’ve formed working parties is to get together the information required to make an informed decision.
“If the circumstances are right then everybody wants to play.
“But there are an awful lot of unknowns at the moment and that’s nobody’s fault – it’s just the situation that everybody is in.”
Littler sees school similarities
SWINTON LIONS coach Stuart Littler can see similarities between his teaching and coaching roles as both industries look to restart in the coming months.
Littler is a head of year at a secondary school in Atherton, and has been working throughout the lockdown situation.
The return of full school openings has become a national talking point over the last week and Littler now finds himself involved in both potential restarts.
He explained: “At work we’ve been using Microsoft Teams to hold meetings and adapt to what we’ve got available.
“The first priority has been checking on the wellness of students and their families, and it’s the same with rugby.
“I’ve been challenging my staff at Swinton to use the time and read up.
“There are loads of different learning techniques out there, from podcast to books to YouTube channels, so it a case of using whatever suits you.
“I’ve said all along that you should use this time to challenge yourself, so that when we do come out of it hopefully we’ll be in a better place than when we went into it.
“Everything will be clunky rugby-wise and for the team when we come back, because we’ve not seen each other.
“But I imagine everybody will be a bit like that and there will have to be some time to get used to the contact element of rugby again.
“We want to get back onto the field and every coach will say the same.
“We all love playing rugby, but we have to make sure the environment is safe for everybody concerned, and it’s the same with schools as well.”
CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND UP
FEATHERSTONE ROVERS hooker Dean Parata is desperate for the 2020 campaign to resume because he believes his side is the best placed to win promotion.
Speaking in a Q&A on the club’s social media channels, Parata said: “I hope they don’t can the season because I think we’re favourites, even if that’s not a popular opinion.
“I think we’ve got a really good shot to go up, so hopefully the season doesn’t finish, because we’re in a really good position to go all the way this year.”
The Italian international also confirmed he is over a knee niggle that had troubled him before the season stalled.
He added: “The knee’s sweet – I was running before lockdown started and it’s fine now.”
LONDON BRONCOS have been boosted by confirmation of the club’s first sponsorship deal for 2021.
Kensington Balustrade Systems, owned by long-term Rugby League fan Mark O’Sullivan, will sponsor several players and match sponsorships, as well as becoming the first premium member of the Broncos’ soon-to-be launched Business Club.
Broncos’ commercial manager James Milner said: “Mark has made a big impression on us all at the club very quickly and having this year been a player sponsor it is great news that he is willing to extend that in 2021.
“It is quite fitting that Mark is the first ever member of our newly formed business club as he is the exact type of supporter we hope the club will benefit from with a chance for networking and an association at all of our home games and events in 2021.”
WIDNES VIKINGS, in partnership with Riverside College, have launched an online employability course for those aged 19 and over to help members of the local community get back on their feet after the lockdown.
The NCFE Level 1 Employability course will enable students to bolster their CVs and manage relationships in the workplace.
Those completing the course will learn valuable skills surrounding interviews, ICT and time management, increasing the prospects of securing employment and developing vital skills.
The ultimate aim of the course, which will be distributed online to learners, is to make people work-ready once lockdown is over, whether in re-adapting to working life or starting on the road to employment.
Full details are available on the Vikings’ website.
LEIGH CENTURIONS’ strength and conditioning coach Micky Higham says John Duffy’s squad is coping as well as can be expected in the lockdown.
Speaking on a new podcast hosted by Leigh Centurions TV’s Ryan Taylor, Higham said: “It’s difficult, but going off the videos that I’ve seen they’re training pretty hard and doing the best they can.
“It’s just frustrating that you can’t be with them day-to-day as you used to be.
“We’re doing everything we can so we can hit the ground running if we get some good news.
“We’ll be behind in issues like skill and contact, but we’ll have to get up to speed with that.”
BATLEY BULLDOGS have donated the remaining stock from their food and drink outlets to local amateur club Batley Boys.
The community club has been selling various parcels through their social media channels to raise vital funds.
They include soft drinks, sweets, chocolate and alcoholic drinks that had been due to be sold at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium.
Full details of how to buy any remaining stock can be found on the Batley Boys’ Facebook page.
TOULOUSE OLYMPIQUE trio Mark Kheirallah, Johnathon Ford and Frank Winterstein have been stepping up their preparations for returning to the field.
The three overseas stars posted a video of themselves carrying out training drills in their garden as lockdown measures in France ease slightly.
Toulouse have also been posting videos of the club’s sponsors outlining their association with Olympique in recent weeks.
The sessions, called ‘Breakfast Break’, see key club sponsors talk about their businesses and links with the Championship club.
WHITEHAVEN coach Gary Charlton has paid tribute to the work that Haven’s Vice-Presidents Club does.
The group continues to raise funds for Haven during the lockdown and act as a support for Charlton and his backroom staff.
Charlton said: “They are brilliant for the club – Des Byrne and the rest do so much.
“They are involved in recruiting, retaining and developing players, while also helping us get new gym equipment when necessary, as well as supplying supplements to the lads.
“We would struggle without them – me the coaching staff, players and officials at the club really appreciate the work they do.”
YORK CITY KNIGHTS coach James Ford has detailed the lessons he’s learned on his coaching journey to date.
In an in-depth interview with League Express, the 37 year old has explained the importance of his teaching career and how he has analysed the mistakes he has made since his early days.
Ford said: “I probably thought I was an outstanding coach at Wakefield College but if I listened back now I think I’d cringe at some of the things I’d say.
“That’s part of everyone’s journey – you have to make mistakes and be brave enough to look back and learn from them.”