Featherstone Rovers recruits unveiled

New signing Keal Carlile.
New signing Keal Carlile.

Featherstone Rovers have increased the size of their first team squad from 22 to 24, but there is no room in it for 2016 skipper Tim Spears and experienced hooker Andy Ellis.

The long serving Spears along with Ellis have been released to help make room for new signings, which number six so far with the possibility of another couple of additions.

Rovers chose a fans forum to announce their plans for the 2017 season and they confirmed that back rower Michael Knowles and hooker Keal Carlile had joined from Sheffield Eagles, centre Chris Ulugia is arriving from Batley Bulldogs and vastly experienced prop Richard Moore was on board after leaving Halifax.

Young outside backs James Duckworth and Luke Briscoe, who spent time on loan at Featherstone in 2016, have also been signed on a permanent basis, the former agreeing a two-year deal and the latter a three-year.

More good news was announced at the forum with player of the year Misi Taulapapa agreeing a new deal.

Head coach Jon Sharp also said that Jamie Cording could still play again for Rovers if he can recover from a serious knee operation.

Exciting prospects Jordan Baldwinson and Jack Ormondroyd, meanwhile, are both likely to feature for Featherstone on dual registration terms from Leeds Rhinos.

Sharp has not completed the recruiting yet as he still has irons in the fire on two more signings.

He explained: “We’re looking to bring another back rower in and there’s an offer on the table.

“We’d also like an extra half-back to put some pressure on Anthony Thackeray and Kyle Briggs.”

Sharp is pleased with the recruitment so far.

He said: “The priority was to recruit some tough players that have got strike.

“We did well this year, but I felt that we needed an extra steely edge to us and we will have that. We needed some punch in the centres and now we should be dangerous on both sides of the field.”