Brett Ferres hoping to experience Wembley outing with Featherstone Rovers

A YEAR after being ineligible to play for Leeds Rhinos in the Betfred Challenge Cup final, Brett Ferres will get to turn out at Wembley today - he hopes.

Saturday, 17th July 2021, 9:10 am
Updated Saturday, 17th July 2021, 9:12 am
Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com - 16/07/2021 - Rugby League - AB Sundecks 1895 Cup - Featherstone Team Walkabout - Wembley Stadium, London, England - Featherstone's Brett Ferres during his side's Wembley walkabout.

Ferres is a member of Featherstone Rovers’ squad for the 1895 Cup final against York City Knights which is due to kick off at noon.

Rovers travelled to London yesterday and visited the stadium in the afternoon for the traditional pre-game walkabout, but it was not clear then if the final will take place.

York are awaiting the result of a last round of lateral flow tests, after three players tested positive for coronavirus.

Rovers’ squad has also been hit by the virus, but they were able to raise a team after tests came back negative yesterday morning.

Ferres spent the second half of last season on loan at Rhinos, but was ineligible to play in their Challenge Cup side having already featured for Rovers earlier in the campaign.

Speaking at yesterday’s walkabout, he said: “It is nice to be able to come to a venue like this and get our game on.

“It has been a tough couple of weeks building up to it, but it is great to be here and be a part of it and hopefully we’ll get the right result.

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com - 16/07/2021 - Rugby League - AB Sundecks 1895 Cup - Featherstone Team Walkabout - Wembley Stadium, London, England - Featherstone's Brett Ferres and Paul March during their Wembley walkabout.

“I missed out last year, so to get down here with Fev, I am really excited about it.

“Opportunities like this don’t come around too often, to play in big finals, so I want to go out there and grab the opportunity with both hands and I am looking forward to it.”

Rovers will field a weakened side because of injuries and Covid cases and Ferres admitted: “We have been tested a fair bit this week, as a club and a squad.

“The boys have done really well, we have worked really hard in what we’ve done and we’ve tried to rectify the issues we’ve had around Covid.

“We’ve jumped through a lot of hoops to get this game on and so have York.

“Credit to both clubs and hopefully it will go ahead tomorrow.”

Ferres admitted it is not idea waking up on the day of a big final not knowing if the game will be on is far from ideal.

“We will enjoy the experience,” Ferres stressed.

“We’ll rest up [last night], build up in the morning and obviously hope the decision’s the right one.

“It is a really weird situation, that you can bash each other for 80 minutes, but can’t walk off the field without having a mask on.

“It’s crazy, but the rules are in place, we are adhering to them and doing the best we can as a club.”

Ferres spent most of his career at the top level and was a Grand Final champion with Rhinos four years ago, but said a win today would be special.

“When you play in big games you want to win them,” he said.

“This is a big final and a massive opportunity for us.

“We are building as a club and a team and looking to move forward so we are certainly looking forward to this one.

“Personally, to play at Wembley is something that doesn’t happen very often, so I am delighted to be here.”

James Harrison, who also spent time on loan at Leeds last year, is included in Rovers’ squad, along with ex-Rhinos academy players Harvey Spence and Loui McConnell.

Featherstone Rovers: from Hall, Welham, Hardcastle, Gale, Chisholm, Kopczak, Brown, Harrison, Ferres, Lockwood, Davies, Cooper, Field, Sweeting, Summers, McConnell, Doyle, Spence.

York City Knights: Jubb, Teanby, Clarkson, Scott, Cuthbertson, Brinning, Stock, Kirmind, Spears, Whiteley, Jones-Bishop, Towse, Harrison, Warren, Washbrook, Dow-Nikau, Lewis.

Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham).

Kick-off: Today, noon.