Featherstone Rovers are ready for top flight says chairman

James Harrison congratulates Callum McLelland on his try for Featherstone Rovers at York. Picture: James Heaton
James Harrison congratulates Callum McLelland on his try for Featherstone Rovers at York. Picture: James Heaton

Featherstone Rovers would be “ready” for the Betfred Super League if they were to earn promotion this season.

That is according to chairman Mark Campbell who insists Rovers are well equipped as a business to compete in the top flight.

Featherstone sit two points ahead of sixth-placed Sheffield Eagles and three ahead of Bradford Bulls in seventh with just two games left to play.

Ryan Carr’s side have a far superior points difference over the teams below them, meaning they need to win just one of their two remaining games to all but secure their place in the top five.

“Since I have been involved I have always wanted a team that was going to compete,” said Campbell.

“The circumstances made it difficult, the coach left on the eve of the season. We went to Australia and got a new coach who has fitted in really well.

“He is a workaholic, the players really respect him and love working with him.

“It was always going to be difficult starting late, but we knew we would get a good side together and that has carried on throughout the season.

“Look at London last season, who would have bet on them going to Toronto last season and beating them.

“We should have beat London last season and we would have been in the top four. That is how close the margins are, everybody has got a chance.”

The promotion play-off final will likely be played in Canada with the new format heavily favouring the top-placed side.

However, Campbell feels that the final should be in a neutral venue. Clubs had met earlier in the year to discuss moving the final from the home of the top-placed side. But the RFL ruled that it would be unfair to change the location halfway through the season, after it was already stipulated at the start of the season.

“I strongly believe the final should be in a neutral venue. Toronto have enough advantages with visa issues, we had to go to Toronto without our best player. “Some of the things that you can’t get a visa for, it is ridiculous. One player we had to get something from the French police and then the Australian police and all this takes time.”

Campbell added: “We’ve got the facilities, which we own, and we have a healthy turnover that is comparable with some of the bottom five Super League clubs, without the consideration of what Super League would bring to us.

“We would add to the staff, but as a business we are a good business. Featherstone was a big name and it still is.”

The Championship play-offs will be broadcast on Sky and Campbell feels it is a great opportunity for the competition to show its worth.

He added: “It is a great opportunity to show what we have got.

“And if we can get the scheduling right, everybody could watch a game on a Sunday and then go home and watch a game Sunday teatime.”