Can ‘massive underdogs’ Rovers topple leaders Leigh?

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

Coach Andy Hay knows second-placed Featherstone will need to be at their best in tomorrow night’s Kingstone Press Championship top-of-the-table clash at Leigh Centurions (8pm kick-off).

Rovers are 10 points adrift of leaders Leigh, who have lost just one of their 22 league games so far this season.

It is the first of two crucial away matches for Rovers who visit third-placed Halifax the following week.

“It’s up to the 17 to go out and put a marker down for the rest of the season,” said Hay.

“We know what we’ve got to do. We are massive underdogs going into Friday’s game and I don’t suppose that happens very often for Featherstone.

“It’s a challenge for us and we’ll see where we are at. We’ve been up and down in the last few months and it’s a question of the players’ character now.

“They’ve dropped off a bit in games where maybe they think they are going to win and it’s been quite easy but this is isn’t going to be one of those times.

“Every player is going to have to give everything they’ve got because Leigh are a very good side.”

The Centurions beat Rovers twice earlier this season.

On successive weekends, they knocked them out of the Challenge Cup and then inflicted their solitary home defeat of the campaign, resulting in the departure of Hay’s predecessor John Bastian as head coach.

Featherstone have recently found their form and are aiming for their fifth straight win tomorrow.

“It will be a tough challenge for us but we are going there with plenty of confidence,” added Hay

“We’ve had some decent results in the last few weeks but we’ll have to be at our best on Friday.

“Leigh are a great attacking side and defensively we’ll have to be good. They’ve got some smart players and I really like Martyn Ridyard.

“They move the ball around really well and have a couple of good hookers and some speed out wide. We’ll have to be good, especially in defence.

“I wasn’t here for the two games earlier this season when we played Leigh but the boys were disappointed with the effort they put in.

“They have been talking about the Leigh match for a couple of weeks and I’ve no doubt they will be up for it.

“We are going there not over confident but knowing that we can try to push Leigh a little bit harder than other teams probably have done in the last few weeks.

“It’s leading into a massive match the week after at Halifax so it will let me know where a lot of our players are at and who can stand up to a challenge because some of them over the last few weeks haven’t been tested by good opposition.

“We are coming up to some big games and people who are in the team are playing for positions.

“Even though we’ve got injuries, there is still a lot of competition in the squad and people are having to play their best.”