How Featherstone Rovers can secure home advantage in Betfred Championship play-offs
Featherstone Rovers can still secure home advantage for their opening Betfred Championship play-off clash.
Rovers 64-0 success at Batley Bulldogs last weekend secured their place in the top five after they missed out on last season’s play-offs by one point.
A fifth-placed finish will mean no home games for Rovers in the play-offs however, they can still finish in fourth if results go their way this weekend.
Ryan Carr’s men host Toulouse Olympique, who won the reverse fixture 8-2 in France, at the LD Nutrition Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Leigh sit in fourth spot, two points ahead of Rovers but have a far inferior points difference. The Centurions head to Toronto Wolfpack on Saturday night (6pm).
Victory for Featherstone coupled with a defeat for Leigh would set up a meeting between the sides at Post Office Road in the Elimination Final on the weekend beginning September 14.
Regardless of where Rovers’ first play-off game will be, Carr is pleased that the added pressure of securing a top-five spot has been eased.
“I am really pleased for the players to have that off their shoulders now,” said Carr.
“We have had our challenges throughout the year but we move onto to Toulouse now and they are really good opposition.
“But we are a good team to when we are on form.”
Carr added: “Look at where we have come from.
“I got here a week before the season began and I don’t think many people gave us a chance, but I am really proud of what we’ve done and I think we are a dangerous team when we play well.”
Sunday’s game was Batley’s first following the death of 20-year-old player Archie Bruce.
The Dewsbury Moor product was found dead in his hotel room the morning after making his debut for the Bulldogs in France two weeks ago.
“We are really thinking of them and it just makes you reflect, there are a lot more important things than rugby league games,” Carr added.
“I was pleased with the result, obviously, but the most important message of the day wasn’t about the footy.
“It was about respecting Archie Bruce and his family and friends and respecting Batley Bulldogs and what they’ve gone through.
“That was the main take-away for me.”
The dates for the Championship play-offs have been set with the qualifying final (2nd v 3rd) and elimination Final (4th v 5th) to be held on the weekend beginning September 14.
On the weekend starting September 21, the first semi-final (QF loser v EF winner) and second semi-final (Toronto Wolfpack v QF winner) will be held.
On Sunday, September 29, the Preliminary final will take place and on Saturday, October 5 it will be the Betfred Championship Grand Final.
The final will be played at the home of the highest-placed team.