Unbeaten Featherstone Rovers face their toughest test so far this season in tonight’s Championship game against Sheffield Eagles at Don Valley Stadium.
Featherstone failed to beat Sheffield in three meetings last year, with the Eagles pulling off a shock 20-16 win over Rovers in the Grand Final.
“In terms of motivation, it can’t be any greater,” said Rovers coach Daryl Powell (pictured).
“We spoke about it with the players on Monday night. Sheffield are the champions at the moment and as much as we were disappointed with the back end of last season that’s the reality.
“We’ve got to come back and fight for everything and work hard to be where we want to be which is number one. At the moment we are number two and we need to fix that up.
“Sheffield put the cleaners through Leigh last week which shows they are a formidable team . They are very difficult to play against and they have got overseas players in the outside backs who are very good for them. It’s certainly going to be a tough challenge for us - I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.”
Leaders Rovers have won their first six games this year but Powell believes there is a lot more to come from his side.
“I think there is loads of improvement in us. I think we can bring that out on Thursday night and we are going to have to. It’s pretty obvious we are going to have to be right on top of our game because Sheffield are a good outfit across the park.”
The match will be played at Don Valley Stadium after being switched from Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane ground earlier this week.
“It will make a difference in how you play because it’s a completely different setting in terms of the size of the field,” added Powell.
“It something we need to be aware of. It’s much tighter than Bramall Lane so you come up with a plan that puts them under pressure and minimises the threats. We look forward to the challenge. The players are really relishing the opportunity to go there and make a statement about how good they want to be this year.”