Powell: Week’s rest is ideal

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FEATHERSTONE coach Daryl Powell says this week’s break has come at the ideal time.

With no fixture this weekend, Powell (pictured) gave his players a week away the club after last Thursday’s 28-28 draw at Sheffield Eagles, a result that put them on the brink of finishing top of the Co-operative Championship for the third successive season.

“It’s the only break we’ve had if you look what has happened to us. We’ve played everyone single week during the season,” said Powell.

“We did well in the Challenge Cup and then reached the Northern Rail Cup final so we haven’t had a solitary break whereas last year we probably had three.

“I think it has mounted up on us this season and this weekend’s break has come just at the right time. It’s ideal because the players were looking a little bit tired.

“We asked them to back up five days after the Northern Rail Cup final and then they had only a four-day tournaround before we played Sheffield.

“The players have had a week off. I’ve given them a clear week away from the club but when they come back in there will be no excuses.”

Featherstone’s final league match is against Keighley Cougars at Bigfellas Stadium on Sunday, September 2.

Rovers are three points clear of second-placed Halifax whose last game is against Batley at The Shay.

Leigh are the only other team with a mathematical chance of finishing top. They have two games left and are six points adrift of Rovers who have a superior points difference to both the Centurions and Halifax.

“We’ve got another game so we don’t want to take anything for granted but we are pretty close. If we perform well against Keighley we should be good enough to get the result,” said Powell who was disappointed with his side’s performance at Sheffield when they were held to a draw after leading 16-0 and 28-18.

“There are mitigating factors but I don’t think we played well and Sheffield are a pretty good side,” he added.

“It was overall disappointing but ultimately the outcome was that we are pretty close to winning a third consecutive League Leaders Shield which I think is a pretty special effort.”

Jonny Hepworth could make his comeback in next Thursday’s reserves friendly against Catalan at Bigfellas Stadium.

Hepworth has missed the last nine matches with a back injury.

Said Powell: “We will see how Hepworth is looking when we come back in on Friday. That’s our first day back in and we’ll see how he is and take it from there.”