Dewsbury Rams have appointed a new head coach for their return to the Championship in the shape of Scotland captain Dale Ferguson, who has retired from playing.
The 35-year-old will take up his first head coaching role, taking over the reins from Ireland legend Liam Finn, who has taken up a three-year contract at hometown club Halifax Panthers from next season.
Dewsbury won promotion to the Championship from League 1 this season under the mentorship of Finn, with prop Ferguson playing 11 games for the Rams in 2023.
Ferguson has made more than 250 career appearances for Scotland, Wakefield, Huddersfield, Bradford, Huddersfield, Featherstone and Dewsbury.
On the appointment of Ferguson as head coach, Rams chairman Mark Sawyer said: “I am delighted to welcome Dale as our new head coach for 2024.
“We have all seen Dale’s leadership qualities on the field and while this is his first major coaching role he already has all the attributes necessary to make this a success.
“He has extensive experience at international, Super League and Championship level as well of course with us in League 1.
“Dale has huge respect within the game and is eager to make a start on his professional coaching career.”
Dale Ferguson ‘honoured’ to be the new Dewsbury Rams head coach as he hangs up his boots
Ferguson, who has represented his Scottish heritage in the last three World Cups, says coaching is something he has always wanted to get into.
He said: “I’m honoured to be able to take up this position at the club and I’m really looking forward to getting the chance to manage in the Championship and to see what impact I can have.
“Coaching is always something that I’ve wanted to get into throughout my career and a lot of the boys at the end of last season were encouraging me to.
“I’m already looking at player retention for next season and that’s started today, Liam built the foundations of a fantastic squad here last year and I’m hoping to keep as many as the lads as possible so that the we can progress and build on the great year we’ve had this year.
“Unfortunately, we also know that there’ll undoubtably be a couple of positions to fill, so I’ll be working on this as well.
“In terms of the back-room team we’ve got Chatty and Mitch who’ll be stopping on as part of the team for next year and I’m looking for one or two more options as part of the set-up – that will be sorted in the coming weeks.
“I’ve spoken with Mark (Sawyer) about my playing role for next year and as it’s stands I’ll be coaching only, if I ever feel like I need to be a part of the playing side then I’ll be ready to go, but for now I’m classing myself as retired from playing.
“I’d just like to finish by thanking Mark for giving me this great opportunity and the fans for their support throughout my time playing with the Rams and hopefully in my time coaching.”