Rovers aim to keep up good work at Whitehaven

Rovers coach Andy Hay. picture: Bob Nunn.
Rovers coach Andy Hay. picture: Bob Nunn.

Coach Andy Hay was delighted with Featherstone’s atttitude and enthusiasm in last weekend’s win over Batley and he is looking for his players to keep up the good work at Whitehaven on Sunday.

Rovers retained second place in the Kingstone Press Championship by thrashing the Bulldogs 52-6 in Hay’s 10th match since he took charge in May.

“It was probably the best game we’ve put together since I’ve been at Featherstone,” he said.

“We’ve put a big emphasis on attittude and enthusiasm in the last few weeks and it’s finally paid off.

“We needed to get a good start and we needed to be aggressive. The players responded really well and they have done over the last few weeks to what has been going on at Featherstone. Hopefully, the problems behind the scenes have now filtered out of the players’ minds and they are just together going forward.

“Hopefully, this is a spingboard into the next six weeks.

“We’ve worked hard on attitude and enthusiasm and we are getting there. They seem to be coming together now as a group and hopefully this puts us in good stead for the rest of the season to kick on.”

Hay will not take anything for granted against ninth-placed Whitehaven who are battling to avoid relegation and also vying for a play off place.

“It will be a tough trip. Whitehaven got hammered by Halifax last weekend so they will be licking their wounds and trying to come back with a win,” said Hay.

“There will no complacency because we can’t afford it. We are almost into the back end of the season now.”

Rovers lost Jack Bussey when he sustained a thigh injury in the warm up to last Sunday’s game. He was replaced on the bench by Andy Bostock who was 18th man.

Andy Kain won the man of the match award against the Bulldogs despite nearly missing the match through illness.

Hay said: “Andy Bostock has just come back from an injury and he took his chance and he took it with both hands.

“He had a great game carrying the ball in the middle. He made some great off loads and then obviously showed his prowess in the centre at the end.

“Andy Kain came off his sick bed. He couldn’t train on Saturday and it was touch and go on Sunday morning whether he would play and he then gave a man of the match performance. I thought his kicking game was outstanding.

“Jason Crookes had probably his best game for us.

“He was really strong and tackled really hard and didn’t make any errors which probably brings him down a little bit in the othergames he has played.

“Matty Dale is a good solid player in the middle. He does all the little things right and tightens the game up and is a really solid defender.

“ These guys are seasoned professionals. The older players who have been here a while have good habits and they know how to play and win games in the Championship.”

Sam Smeaton made a successful comeback in Featherstone’s under 20s against Midlands on Saturday.

It was the 25-year-old centre’s first apppearance since he sustained a serious knee injury in training shortly before the 2012 Championship Grand Final.