Featherstone Rovers boss Andy Hay believes the venue for this year’s Kingstone Press Championship Grand Final can be an advantage for his team as they take on Leigh Centurions at Headingley.
The short travelling distance can be a factor on and off the pitch with advantages for players and Rovers supporters, who are likely to travel in big numbers to cheer on the team to create what Hay hopes will be a “special atmosphere”.
Hay said: “I think it will suit us playing at Headingley. It should be familiar to most of the players, it’s nice and close for us, which is good because we don’t have to trouble the fellas staying overnight in hotels and everything else.
“We can carry on with our normal week’s preparation and the players can have a comfortable night at home and be ready for the game on Sunday.
“We don’t want to over play the game and don’t want to be prepared too early in the week, we want to be nice and focused going in.”
Hay is expecting big support from the terraces and is looking for Rovers fans to get behind the team in the way they did against Sheffield.
He said: “There should be plenty of Rovers fans there. They have all been down at the ground queuing to get their tickets and it should be a real good atmosphere.
“It’s not too far away for the fans and is a little drive over. There’s plenty of buses going from here as well.
“The Rovers fans were outstanding again last Sunday and if we can recreate the atmosphere it will be great.
“When we went over to Leigh we had probably 500 fans there and they 3,000 and I thought the Rovers fans were better than their fans all day.
“We’re looking forward to a great atmosphere with a night game at Headingley and Sunday should be really special.”
Hay added: “It’s a great day out for everybody and we’re really looking forward to it.
“It’s probably been overshadowed a little bit by the league finishing positions this year with the financial rewards, but it’s a major final and these players deserve to be there and to have a shot at some silverware.
“It’s a big enough achievement just getting there after the problems we’ve had, but we’re not just dreaming, we’re in it and we’re 80 minutes away from picking that trophy up.
“It will be great for the team and great for the club and for the support we’ve had all year.
“It might bring a few more fans back into the game and back into Rovers because there’s been a few issues this year on the field and off the field. We’ve come through that and we’re finishing off in the final.”
Rovers have been allocated 2,000 tickets for the Western Terrace and 300 seats in the Paddock Stand at Headingley for the final, which kicks off at 7pm. Tickets are: Standing £17 adults and £10 concesssions and seating £20 adults and £10 concessions. The club is running coaches at £10 a seat, setting off 2.30pm from the Big Fellas Stadium and will have Grand Final merchandise and polo shirts available.