FEATHERSTONE coach Daryl Powell has given his players a week away from Bigfellas Stadium ahead of next Wednesday’s Co-operative Championship home clash against Widnes Vikings (8pm kick-off).
Rovers, who won 44-16 at York last Friday, are without a game this weekend but then play two home matches in four days against Widnes and Dewsbury Rams.
“With no match this weekend, it has provided an opportunity to give the players a bit of time away from the club,” said Powell.
“They’ve been coming in week after week and night after night for quite a while now so it gives them a breather and from that perspective it’s pretty good to have a break this weekend.
“We are just telling the players to stay away from the club for a week. Obviously, we want them to keep training and they’ll do some work on their own in their own environment but it will give them a mental freshener.
“There’s been no training this week. They have their own programme that they’ve taken away with them and that will keep them ticking over. We train on Sunday and then we’ll prepare for Widnes.”
Table-toppers Featherstone, who are unbeaten in their last 15 league matches, have four games left to play in the regular season. They include home and away fixtures against Widnes who are aiming to clinch third place in the table.
Said Powell: “We’ve got to play Widnes twice and they are important games for us.
“Widnes are a dangerous team and they’ve got smart players. Obviously, they’ll be in Super League next year and they are building for that.
“They’ve got some really strong, physical players who are difficult to handle and across the park as well.
“It’s going to be a tough battle for us and well need to certainly step up.
“We’ve got two games in a week which is not the easiest thing to manage but we know what’s in front of us and we need to deal with it.”
Rovers came through Friday’s match at York without any fresh injuries but they will still be without Andy Kain (groin injury) for at least another two matches.
Prop Iain Morrison is to have a second opinion on the broken jaw that looks set to rule him out for the rest of the season.
Powell said: “Andy Kain is improving but he’s not ready yet.
“He will certainly will not be right for the Dewsbury match and we’ll have a look and see if he is available for the Sheffield game after that.
“Iain Morrison is going to have a second opinion. Hopefully, we’ll get that done this week and then we’ll have a better picture of where he is heading and how far away he is but it doesn’t look good at the moment for this season.”
Prop Ben Gledhill, signed on a dual registration from Wakefield, has played for both Rovers and the Wildcats in recent weeks.
Powell said: “He played for us on the Thursday against Sheffield and then played for Wakefield on the Sunday.
“We’ll just have to see how it goes. Hopefully, we can retain him but when people are on dual reg contracts it’s not always easy because you don’t know when you’ve got them at times.”
Greg Worthington had a late call up to play against York after winger Bryn Powell was taken ill.
It is the third time this season that Worthington has been drafted into the team at short notice after originally being named as 18th man.
Powell said: “The physio checked on Bryn just before the warm up and he wasn’t feeling too clever. I had a chat with Bryn and he wasn’t feeling like he could take the field.
“We decided 18th man Greg Worthington would be a better option even though he had played for the reserves for the night before.
“Greg has been 18th man three times and ended up playing each time so it’s funny how these things happen.
“He’s generally taken his opportunities well and I really felt like he’s been ready for a couple of weeks now to go back into the side. He’s been playing exceptionally well in the reserves.”
Powell was pleased with his side’s second-half display at York after they were only 16-12 up at half-time.
He said: “I made some changes in the first-half and we didn’t maintain our intensity as a result of that. I think our bench needed to step up and that didn’t quite happen.
“I’ve had a chat with the guys and it’s something we need to improve on. When we make our changes the intensity level should go up not down.
“Our tackle management wasn’t quite good enough at times in the first-half. York got a couple of off-loads and also a couple of penalties as a result of us being a little loose in the contact.
“We stepped up 10 to 15 minutes into the second-half and I thought we were excellent. The pace and intensity we were able to play at was too much for York.
“Obviously, you try to do that consistently. It doesn’t always work out like that but I thought it was excellent the way we put that spell of intense rugby league together.
“Once we tightened up and stopped giving things away we were able to control the field position battle and when we were in York’s ‘20’ we looked like we were going to score consistently.
“We needed to win the game and we got the job done and we won comfortably in the end.”
Featherstone’s under 18s and reserves have both emulated the first-team by putting together winning runs.
Powell said: “We’ve been winning games consistently at all levels which is great in terms of player development.
“It’s a feel-good factor when teams are winning matches and the players are feeling confident about themselves.
“Obviously, our players are getting better all the time which is what the coaching process is all about.
“It looks like the reserves will be in the play-offs and that gives them a great opportunity.
“We had massive injuries earlier this year and that had a knock on effect for the reserves.
“Now that Danny Evans has now got consistency in his team selection it is making it a fair bit easier for him.”
Featherstone Allstars take on Life for a Child Allstars in a charity curtain-raiser (6pm kick-off) to next Wednesday’s Rovers-Widnes game.
The All Stars team will be captained by Rovers supporter Jono Lancaster who has Treacher Collins syndrome and has risen to prominence in creating awareness for the condition.
The All Stars team will be:
Carl Gibson, Ikram Butt, Terry Manning, Paul Newlove, Jono Lancaster, Martin Pearson (to be confirmed), Deryck Fox (to be confirmed), Chico Jackson, Richard Gunn, Craig Jackson, Richard Slater, Chris Burton, Paul Lyman, Alex Goulbourne, Jamie Benn, Nathan graham, Gary Rose, Jonny Morgan, Mark Webster.
Executive boxes in the main stand that can accommodate up to 10 guests are available for Wednesday’s match.
For details contact the club on 01977- 702386 or email email@example.com
Latest £500 winners in the Rovers lottery are A Chapman (E3551), A Gleadhow (L5543), R Bradburn (I3827), D Gibson (J6786), K Crampton (F4901). Travellers Rest meal voucher: N Higgins (W1841).