Featherstone players aim to freshen up after poor run in tough month

Keal Carlile attacks the Halifax defence in Featherstone Rovers' game at Summer Bash. Picture: Dec Hayes
Keal Carlile attacks the Halifax defence in Featherstone Rovers' game at Summer Bash. Picture: Dec Hayes

With no game this weekend Featherstone Rovers head coach John Duffy is hoping it can be used profitably to have his players fit and refreshed for the run-in.

A winless May has left Rovers’ top four hopes in the balance as they suffered defeats to rivals Halifax, Leigh and Toulouse and lost all four games played, including the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup tie against Hull.

Confidence has obviously been knocked, but if the team can get back somewhere close to the level they were playing at before the tough last four weeks they certainly have some winnable games to come that can help them climb back up the table from their current fourth.

With only four points separating the teams in second and sixth the top four race looks set to go down to the wire with everything to play for.

“We’ve got to make sure that what we’ve thrown up in the last month inspires us for the rest of the season now and we get back where we need to be,” said Rovers boss Duffy.

“It’s a tough old league and if you’re not on the money every week you get found out – and that’s what’s happened in the last month.

“Every fixture throughout the year is important, it’s not just because of who we’re playing or because of past fixtures.

“We’ve got to make sure we regroup this week. We get some time to freshen up and get some players back hopefully. And then we go hard against Dewsbury.”

Duffy was bitterly disappointed with his team’s first half display in the Summer Bash defeat to Halifax, but was able to take positives from a much improved second half performance.

He said: “We were poor in the first half, made too many errors across the game for us really and we probably didn’t deserve the win.

“But I’m proud of the boys in the second half. We had full control and then just one lapse – you can’t do that at this level – and we got burned.

“We’ve got to dust ourselves down now. We’ve had a tough month. We get a week off to recoup and we go again.

“We’ve just got to be better. Our first half let us down and we’ve got to be better than that at this level.

“There were positives to take from the second half, but not from the first half.

“The first half was catastrophic really, not good enough. We were erroring all the time with the ball, leading to too many defensive efforts.”

On what he said to the players at the interval to bring about the dramatic change in the second half, Duffy added: “We needed to be straight with the group at half-time and there was a good response.

“We came back into the game in full control and then we switch off for one play.

“We did what we said we were going to do in the second half, we ran back hard.”