Rovers coach: We will have to play better

Rovers coach Jon Sharp: "The injuries are a concern."
Rovers coach Jon Sharp: "The injuries are a concern."

Featherstone coach Jon Sharp is looking for an improvement in Sunday’s clash against Dewsbury Rams at Big Fellas Stadium.

Championship Shield leaders Rovers clinched a home semi-final in the play-offs with a last gasp 28-26 victory against Batley Bulldogs but Sharp admitted his side were outplayed for most of Monday’s match.

Featherstone are three points ahead of second-placed Dewsbury who won 32-30 at Big Fellas Stadium in July in Andy Hay’s final game as Rovers coach.

“Dewsbury will be tough and we are going to have to be better than we were against Batley or we are going get beat,” said Sharp.

“We played poorly on Monday but we never gave in.

“We played until the 80th minute and came up with a win we probably didn’t deserve but it’s one we’ll take.

“I was a frustrated coach throughout the game and not really happy with how we were performing.

“We were trying but we were just the second best team.

“We had a lot of defending to do. We didn’t have much of the ball and we came up with too many errors.

“I thought Batley played well. Scott Leatherbarrow’s kicking game was brilliant – I don’t think he put in one poor kick all game. He just forced us back and we had no field position.

“We defended our own line for lots of sets but I thought we defended quite well.

“We’d got some tired blokes there who were at times on the back foot for long periods but we kept going even when we were 26-6 down.

“We made a couple of calls from the sidelines to try a couple of things and the execution from Paul Cooke with a really nice kick for Kyran Johnson to score got the ball rolling.

“The best team on the day got beaten but I’ll take that because we’ve had to work hard for our victories and we’ve never given in.

“Over the last four weeks the team has improved and we won on Monday just purely by determination.”

Featherstone’s injury problems increased when they lost centre Alex Foster in the first-half with an ankle injury.

“We lost Alex Foster early on and I’ve got no backs at the minute,” added Sharp who hopes to have players back for Sunday’s match.

“I had only got front rowers on the bench and Steve Snitch had been ill all week and had not trained.

“We were down on numbers before the game even started and then losing Foster made it doubly difficult for us.

“The injuries are a concern. We need to get some people back because we are struggling to field a side.”

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