Stand-in coach Paul March was proud of the effort put in by the Featherstone Rovers players despite their 56-0 defeat to Super League Castleford Tigers.
With new coach Ryan Carr still in Australia, reserve boss Paul March and conditioner Greg Stebbings took charge of the Rovers team.
Nine of their 20-man squad were trialists so it was always going to be a tough ask to repeat their festive challenge victory of 12 months earlier and March was far from downhearted with the players’ performance.
He said: “I am really proud of them. In the last 40 minutes I think there were 10 players on the field who’ve not played a first-team game and they will be better for it.
“There’s still lots to fix up, but the club will be better for having these trialists playing these games.
“Overall our defence contact wasn’t good enough – and we’ve been working on it – but we’ve had a tough pre-season, especially with the new coach not being here, but I’m sure things will get better as time goes on.
“Greg Stebbings has done a great job getting the lads in some physical condition.
“It was all about giving opportunities to the youngsters and if I say we’ve got what we wanted to get out of the game obviously the scoreline doesn’t suggest that, but there will be some stuff we can take away from it.
“With all the trialists involved it gave everybody an opportunity to stake a claim for a first team contract, we got to look at different combinations and James Lockwood and Luke Cooper both played 40 minutes.
“Josh Hardcastle picked up a facial injury and had to come off.”
March is now preparing the players for their first round Yorkshire Cup tie this Saturday.
He said: “The lads will be off until Thursday and then they will be back in and we are looking forward to the Dewsbury game.
“It’s against another Championship side. We want to put our best foot forward and it will give us an indication of where we need to be.”
March, meanwhile, did not feel the yellow card for Ryan Bailey was justified.
He added: “I spoke to the referee at half-time about it and I just thought he was sin-binned because of who he was and not because of the incident. I know everybody came running in, but there were no punches thrown.
“Ryan wasn’t well and probably shouldn’t have played. He and Jordan Tansey are on trial and have obviously played at the top level. I think when Ryan Carr gets here he will make a quick decision on whether they are staying or not.”