FEATHERSTONE Rovers have “irons in the fire” in their search for a replacement for Kyle Briggs who yesterday joined Super League club Bradford on a two-year contract.
The Bulls have paid an undisclosed fee for highly-rated goalkicking stand-off Briggs who had a year left on his Rovers contract.
With hooker or stand-off Andy Kain (pictured) set to be handed the Rovers number six shirt, coach Daryl Powell is initially looking to sign a new replacement hooker to operate in tandem with Ben Kaye.
Powell said: “I am confident that Andy Kain can step up and play at number six. I think six is Andy’s best position. He played there against Hunslet a few weeks ago and looked very sharp and to be fair when he played there last year he looked good as well.
“All things being equal we are looking to sign a hooker but it’s not easy at the moment and the timing is not ideal. Maybe something will come up at stand-off that will allow me to leave Andy Kain at number nine so it’s very difficult to be specific at the moment. We just need to work our way through it.
“It’s going to depend what happens in the market place but we are looking for a hooker or a number six.
“Obviously from my point of view I’ve got to make sure we remain competitive on the field and we need to make a signing, there’s no doubt about that. We have a few irons in the fire and we are looking around at the moment. It’s a case of making sure we get a top-level replacement and that’s what I am looking at.
“It’s absolutely crucial we get someone on board before the start of the Northern Rail Cup campaign. It’s important we have two hookers and a quality number six on the field.”
Former Doncaster and Leeds player Briggs was nominated for last season’s Championship player of the year award after scoring 20 tries and kicking 117 goals in 26 appearances for Featherstone.
He will be with Bradford’s first-team squad when they depart for warm-weather training in Lanzarote today.
Briggs said: “To get the chance to join Bradford is fantastic and I’d like to thank Featherstone for agreeing to release me.
“I’m sad to be leaving but opportunities like this don’t come around that often. I owe a lot to Daryl Powell and Ryan Sheridan (assistant coach). They’ve done wonders for me over the last couple of years.”
Powell believes 23-year-old Briggs can be a success in Super League.
He said: “Kyle was one of our outstanding players but you can’t stand in people’s way when an opportunity like this comes up.
“As long as the club is reimbursed in the right way, which they have been been, then you’ve got to give players the opportunity.
“It’s a win-win situation. Bradford have paid a fee which the club are pretty happy with. It sets the club up and it gives a Kyle an opportunity which he really deserves.
“I think he’s an outstanding young person and player and it’s been a pleasure to have him on board. I wish him all the best and I’m confident that if anyone can step up from this level he is one such player. I’ll be delighted to see him play in Super League next year and hopefully he will go really well.”
Powell does not believe Rovers will have any difficulty finding a replacement goalkicker for Briggs.
“Liam Finn is a top quality goalkicker and Stuart Dickens is also an outstanding goalkicker so I don’t see that as a major issue,” said Powell