Rovers aiming to improve away record

Featherstone Rovers' Steve Crossley takes on the Crusaders defence. Picture: BOB NUNN
Featherstone Rovers' Steve Crossley takes on the Crusaders defence. Picture: BOB NUNN

After declaring himself delighted with the way his side went about their business in crushing Crusaders in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup Featherstone Rovers boss John Bastian is now turning attention to improving the team’s away record in the Kingstone Press Championship.

Rovers have lost at Dewsbury and Doncaster already this season and are back on their travels on Sunday when they take on Barrow.

“It’s an area that we want to be better in, for sure,” said Bastian.

“Barrow will be another tough game for us, but we’ll be very focused on that match and I think we can take a lot of positives from the way we performed last Sunday against Crusaders.

“We are playing some outstanding rugby. We are a very expansive, creative team. Against Crusaders the defence really complimented the attack and that’s something we want to get right, week in week out, but it can take time.

“Next weekend at Barrow we will be very respectful to them but we will looking to try to improve on what we did against Crusaders as well.”

Rovers duo Steve Crossley and Kyle Briggs picked up knocks from the cup tie, but are expected to be fit for the trip to Barrow. There were no other injuries with Andy Kain coming through well and forming a new half-back combination with Gareth Moore.

Bastian said: “I’ve been waiting to give Gaz and Andy a run. They are both very dynamic and I thought they shared the game with each other. They are both a real threat when they are attacking the line.

“I am going to give Andy Kain a massive wrap. He has been absolutely superb in training and he has improved himself, in my opinion, as a bloke. He’s doing some cracking things and I thought him and Gaz combined superbly.

“We took our time with Andy. We looked after him and it was a slow progress getting him back. There were some other areas he needed to work on and he’s done that and he’s been a credit to himself.”

Rovers finished Sunday’s game with George Flanagan at loose-forward and Bastian explained: “I wanted to give my back rowers a rest. They have had a lot of football and it was a game in which I could afford to bring Tim Spears and James Lockwood off. They’ve been great for us and they will be fresh for the game at Barrow.

“George slotting into the loose-forward position allowed us a little more speed through the ruck area.

“Our defence was also superb – that’s the priority. That’s the wall you want every week and I thought we were very energetic in that area. We’ve improved on a few things in that area and, as a coach, I have learned some things as well in the last few weeks.”

Featherstone Rovers’ Treasure Chest Lottery winners for week 28:

Monday: V3977 A Thorpe.

Tuesday: E4482 K Dove.

Wednesday: K3079 L Chandler.

Thursday: V1503 Mrs Parker.

Friday: Y6192 D Marshman.

£5 consolation prize: Mrs Pinder.