Heavy Woollen Derby as intense as Leeds-Bradford, says Morrison

Dewsbury Rams head coach Glenn Morrison believes the passion involved with the Heavy Woollen Derby compares to the Bradford Bulls-Leeds Rhinos rivalry.

Morrison’s side travel to their bitter local rivals Batley on Sunday for the final derby of the regular Championship season, keen to win back the local bragging rights after the Bulldogs won the two meetings so far this campaign.

“I think the rivalry itself is right up there with anything in this country,” Morrison told TotalRL.

“I’ve played in the Bradford-Leeds derby, and the passion and intensity involved in the Heavy Woollen Derby are definitely as high.

“When I arrived to join Bradford I landed at the airport and one of the girls told me that we were supposed to hate each other because she was a Leeds fan and I was going to play for Bradford. It’s that kind of thing.”

The former Bradford and Wakefield forward has been in charge at the Tetley’s Stadium since 2012, playing his part in multiple Heavy Woollen derby fixtures in his time.

And Morrison is confident his players also understand the importance when Dewsbury meet their rivals Batley.

“The players know what it’s all about. The fans make the rivalry and the boys don’t want to let them down. This game itself is obviously massive with Batley pushing for the top four and us looking for top six. It’s a very important game.

“When I first came to the club, the first thing almost every fan said to me was that ‘you have to beat Batley’. It’s the most important thing for the fans.”

Batley chief John Kear will be in charge for his final Heavy Woollen Derby should his side reach the top four.

And like his opposite number Morrison, he insists that his players don’t need reminding of the importance of Sunday’s match.

He said: “This is our fourth meeting including the boxing day trial game so the players are fully aware of it (the importance of the Heavy Woolen derby) there’s no doubt about that but the Dewsbury players are fully aware of it as well.

“The fans love the bragging rights, every derby game is a big game and as with every derby game, it’s a bit cliché but form goes out of the window and an individual can raise their game.

“Players like Dominic Brambani have played for Dewsbury before, so they know what it’s like from that side. The players know what it means.”

Mitch Stringer and Lucas Walshaw are both set for their Dewsbury debuts on Sunday and Batley are without Luke Blake, who broke two vertebrae in his lower back last weekend.