Featherstone boss: Middle 8s were a step too far for us

Featherstone head coach Jon Sharp.
Featherstone head coach Jon Sharp.

Featherstone Rovers boss Jon Sharp admitted the Middle 8s had been a “step too far” for his team with all the injuries they have had to contend with.

After a thrilling finish to the regular season which saw Rovers end in the top four in the Championship they struggled at times in the qualifiers and finished bottom of the eight teams without a win from their seven matches.

Injuries have been a major issue with Featherstone struggling to find 19 fit players to name in their squad at times and inconsistent performances saw them well beaten in four of the Middle 8s games, but perform well in the other three.

Sharp said: “We’ve been busted in the Middle 8s and it’s just been a step too far for us.

“We trained on Thursday with just 12 blokes and had blokes getting jabbed up for the London game.

“We’ve not been able to win a game, but we’ve come very close on three occasions, which is the positives. But there’s still some work ahead for us and we need to be better next year.

“I’m frustrated, I’m angry, yet I’m pleased and chuffed at some of things we’ve done this year – it’s a real mixture of emotions.”

Sharp continued: “From my point of view some of the standards we’ve reached in the play-offs have not been good enough.

“I’m an ambitious bloke and I’ve got some drive and I need to look at how this team has played and how it’s reacted at particular points in games because it’s just not been good enough.

“Throughout these Middle 8s we’ve had a couple of blokes who don’t really believe we should be playing against Super League teams and others, in particular the youngsters, who have come through and embraced it as each game’s gone by.

“It’s frustrating. The performance against Hull KR was absolutely outstanding. They hung on to get the win, but we should have won that game. Then we turn up and play like we did (at London) – it’s not good enough for me.

“You should have an attitude that every time you rock up you are tough to beat and we weren’t.”

Sharp was unhappy with the attitude of his team as they ended their season with a poor display and a heavy 46-6 defeat to a London team they had beaten twice earlier in the season.

He added: “I’ve got to give some credit to London. I thought they put some really good stuff together.

“Jamie Soward just looked on a different planet, he was absolutely unbelievable and came up with some special plays. Some of them were almost impossible to defend.

“They were good. They had a lot to play for. It was a must-win game for them and I thought that showed for large parts where we saw a London team that was fired up and motivated.

“At times for me, my team just looked happy to be out on the field and just lacked that little bit of intensity and attitude.

“We played like it was a little bit of a dead rubber, which is disappointing because we’ve had a really good year.”

Jamie Cording has joined Featherstone Rovers’ Foundation charity in a full-time capacity after taking on his new role of community manager.

Jamie has been involved with the Foundation as a community development officer since December 2013 alongside his playing commitments for Featherstone.

On his new role, he said: ‘I am really excited to be working full-time for the Foundation.

“During the past three years I have gained invaluable experience. I’m looking forward to putting it all into practice to further develop the Foundation and the fantastic work we do in the local community.”

Head of community development Amy Hardman said: “It is fantastic for the Foundation that we have supported Jamie in his personal development over the past three years so that he is now able to take on this new responsibility.

“Jamie is very passionate about the club, being a ‘Fev’ lad and being local to the area is a huge plus when working in the local community.”

Latest Featherstone Rovers Treasure Chest lottery winners: M Flannery (J5787), S Guildford ( R2207), J Wilkinson (I0519), D Stanhope (C1983), C Gilbert (C3050).

£5 consolation prize: E Lorriman (V2207).