Featherstone Rovers will only get better, insists James Webster following pre-season defeat at Hull KR
Featherstone Rovers will “only get better” reckons head coach James Webster following a narrow 16-14 defeat at Hull Kingston Rovers in their penultimate pre-season outing.
Jarrod O’Connor, Louis Jouffret and Gareth Gale - who signed a two-year deal last week - all scored at Craven Park but a brace from Will Dagger and a further try from Jamie Ellis secured victory for the Super League side.
O’Connor, on dual-registration from Leeds Rhinos, opened the scoring when he grounded Dane Chisholm’s kick.
But the Robins responded through Dagger, who picked up a loose ball and burst 80 metres to dot down. He got his second four minutes before the interval, taking a pass from Shaun
Kenny-Dowall and diving over acrobatically to put KR 10-4 up at the interval.
Featherstone got themselves back in front early in the second half when Jouffret raced onto his own kick through.
Former Robins player Craig Hall then delivered a superb pass to Gale who got the ball down in the corner.
But the home side regained the lead, and wouldn’t relinquish it this time, as Ellis reached out to get the ball down.
Despite the defeat, Webster was encouraged by what he saw from his side.
“We have had limited time together as a squad, even to the point that two boys got drafted in this morning that had never trained with us before,” he said.
“We have got a good base of team spirit, determination and understanding from last year and over the next couple of weeks when we get people to training, we will improve.
“A couple of guys out there hadn’t done a lot of training and Hull KR have been in three weeks longer than us and train everyday while we’ve got limited time and access to the players.
“So, we will only get better. The best thing is that we have got through with no injuries, so we will look forward to Leeds this week.”
Featherstone’s final pre-season outing is on Friday night as they welcome Leeds Rhinos to Post Office Road.
And Webster expects Brett Ferres and Dale Ferguson to be fit for the clash.
“We will play everyone we possibly can, I am expecting Brett Ferres and Dale Ferguson to play,” Webster added.
“Greg Worthington will hopefully be over his sickness. So, that is three players that come in straightaway to our side.
“Obviously we will lose the Leeds lads, in that they’ll be playing against us. But I am looking forward to seeing those three play and those that played this week take another step forward.”