Featherstone coach delighted with progress of team

Bradley Knowles-Tagg goes over for his first try for Featherstone Rovers against Workington. Picture: Carol Austerberry
Bradley Knowles-Tagg goes over for his first try for Featherstone Rovers against Workington. Picture: Carol Austerberry

Head coach Jon Sharp was proud of his young Featherstone Rovers team as they ran in nine tries against Workington to book their place in the first-ever Championship Shield final.

A 52-14 victory was Rovers’ seventh win in eight games and they go into the final in fine form to boost confidence they can bring the Shield home from the Widnes ground on Sunday.

“It was an excellent performance,” Sharp told the Express. “To score 52 points against a team that’s hard to beat was extremely gratifying.

“The levels of skill and the energy we had in the game showed we are in really good form.

“We played some good football. We try to play and throw a lot at the opposition and we did. We executed well.

“We blew a couple of chances as well, but we played some good stuff and nine different try scorers showed we are a team that are balanced and not reliant on a couple of stars.

“I think we’ve got some momentum to our game. We’ve now won seven out of our last eight so that’s encouraging.

“It’s more pleasing the fact that we’ve done it with a bunch of kids.”

Sharp heaped praise on young half-back Will Milner, who only found out he was playing in the semi-final late on.

He said: “Will Milner was outstanding.

“He was a late replacement for Paul Cooke, who pulled out on Saturday morning with an Achilles injury and he stepped into the breach and was very good.

“He scored a try and had a hand in another three so he was a stand-out performer for very different reasons at times.

“He has certainly got a bright future ahead of him.”

Sharp is pleased with the way the reshaped Rovers side is blending together and the progress being made by the youngsters he has been able to blood in the Shield competition.

He added: “I think six or seven of them were reserve graders when I watched them earlier on in the year so for them to come through like they have and play like they’ve played I’m chuffed to bits with.

“It’s testimony to their application and how hard they’ve worked and how as a team we’ve come together.

“We’ve lost some important people and really good players in Wood, Carvell and Maitua but we’ve stuck together and worked really hard.

“We are going to be inexperienced for the final, but hopefully I can pass on my experience and we keep the build-up to the final low key.

“But it’s going to be a good week for us and I want the players to enjoy it. We’ve got an opportunity to win a trophy which you can never underestimate as a player or as a coach. The opportunities that come along aren’t very often so we’ve done all right.”