Having suffered a shock opening-day defeat at Dewsbury, Featherstone Rovers look to have got their Super League aspirations back on track - albeit somewhat bumpily.
Having since edged out Halifax by 28 to 20, Fev sent Big Spending North Wales Crusaders™ spiralling to their first home defeat in 18 months last week - eventually beating them 36 to 6, having been locked-up at 6-all at half time.
In a game that has a strangely familiar shape to it, Will Sharp bagged three tries and Gareth Moore kicked six goals to clock-up 30 unanswered points to haul the game out of the Welshmen's reach.
|Miner Alterations: The new stand at Post Office Road,|
but the pitch looks a bit heavy...
Whilst not quite yet the slick Championship machine everyone quite expected, John Bastian's charges have the look of a team happy to grind out a win. An attitude that will take you a very long way at our level.
Celebrating their win at Wrexham, Rovers Chief Executive Craig Poskitt said: "… the club did have complaints from North Wales Crusaders fans concerning some of the language which does not have a place in our family game. Can I please ask fans to respect this element of our game in future, I am investigating the complaints today and speaking with individuals personally. There is no place for this behaviour at Featherstone Rovers".
Elsewhere on their website it said, modestly: "If Featherstone can replicate their second half performance next week, then Rochdale will be unable to withstand the Rovers onslaught".
We assume they mean on the field.
After last week's disappointing second-half Hornets' Ian Talbot wasn't too impressed: 'I was proud of the lads (v Dewsbury) - we competed for 80 minutes and faded in the last 15 or so. This week, we dominated a pack for 40 minutes and then just stopped. Nobody wanted to put a shoulder in and stand up and be counted. We didn't stick to the game plan. I said it last year - if the boys stick to a game plan and apply themselves we will do well.'
Tal. identified the loss of Sean Casey as the turning point: '(Sherriffe) definitely led with his knees, and he's hurt Sean. We got the penalty but the lad should have had ten minutes in the bin. When we lost Sean we had to move Ryan (Millard) to full back and with it we lost our attacking shape'.
There are no doubts that Sunday will pose a severe test - and in 40 year of watching Hornets, we've seen us win at Post Office Road a grand total of twice, so History isn't in our favour. But competing in the Championship means competing with the best the competition has to offer and that's what everyone at the club has worked so hard for. So let's get over to Fev and get behind the lads. You wouldn't want to miss the the season's biggest shock result, would you?
Directions to Featherstone
Leave the M62 at Junction 31: follow for Wakefield. As you go under the M62 keep left/ bear left towards Ackton. Follow this road straight across a series of three mini-roundabouts, for approximately 1 ½ miles to a set of traffic lights, Turn Left onto the A645 Pontefract. Next set of lights and take a left turn into Station Lane, up Station Lane for 400 yards until you pass the Yorkshire Bank on your right, Post Office Road is the second road on your right after this. The Ground is on your left after 200 yards.
Post code for SatNav is WF7 5EN
RFL Match Preview
Featherstone Rovers v Rochdale Hornets (3.00pm)
Featherstone Rovers coach John Bastian will check on Greg Worthington (jaw) and Jack Bussey (ankle) before finalising the team to face Rochdale Hornets. Rovers produced an impressive second-half display to win 36-6 against North Wales Crusaders last week.
Bastian said: “We played some cracking rugby, but there were certain areas we need to improve on –
we want a bit more intensity to our starts in games.
We addressed a few things at half time and the second half was a different game altogether. Our response and reactions were superb and we scored some great tries.”
He added: “We’ll go into Sunday’s game full of confidence, and we should do as well.
“That second half against Crusaders has given us a bit more confidence, but we certainly won’t be complacent. We’ll do our homework on the opposition, we’ll respect them and then we’ll try to perform against them.”
Hornets coach Ian Talbot is demanding an improved performance from last week’s 40-14 defeat by Keighley Cougars.
Talbot said: “Nobody wanted to put a shoulder in and stand up and be counted, and we didn’t stick to the game plan.”