Featherstone Rovers v Batley Bulldogs: Derby day rivals targeting first victory

Dominic Brambani.
Dominic Brambani.

RIVALS FEATHERSTONE Rovers and Batley Bulldogs both lost their opening game, but will have different motivation when they meet at LD Nutrition Stadium, Post Office Road, tomorrow (3pm).

Rovers were edged out 17-16 at Bradford Bulls last week and their coach Ryan Carr is looking to build on a positive performance, but for Batley it is all about proving they are better than their 22-18 defeat at Barrow Raiders suggested.

Featherstone Rovers' Calum Turner on the ball against Bradford Bulls. Picture: Matthew Merrick.

Featherstone Rovers' Calum Turner on the ball against Bradford Bulls. Picture: Matthew Merrick.

With the Betfred Championship set to be more competitive than ever this year, both teams know they can’t afford to fall too far behind the leaders even at this early stage.

Rovers have a new-look side and Carr felt last week’s round one effort was a positive sign.

He reflected: “When you look at the game back and break it right down, we did a lot of things really well.

“There’s just some small things we need to keep improving on, but we’ll take a lot out of that game and hopefully build on it this week.”

We’re looking for an immediate reaction. We need to balance up the books.

Matt Diskin

Making LD Nutrition Stadium a fortress is one of Rovers’ key objectives this season.

Carr stressed: “It is important to win at home for anyone, especially Featherstone.

“We want to pride ourselves on doing well at home and we will be up for it.”

Six players made their competitive debut last week and Carr admitted “you never know” how long it will take to gel as a unit.

Matt Diskin.

Matt Diskin.

“It is up to us as a team – players and coaches – to make sure we accelerate it and make the most of it,” he added.

“It is not ideal coming together once the season has started, but that’s the reality and we have got to make sure we keep building each week and improving and learning from each game.”

Bulldogs boss Matt Diskin was left bitterly disappointed by the shock setback six days ago and has pledged changes to his line-up for tomorrow’s encounter.

“We’re looking for an immediate reaction,” he said.

Ryan Carr.

Ryan Carr.

“We need to balance up the books.

“We didn’t expect that loss and as a group of players we didn’t show Barrow the respect they deserved.

“The performance last week did not reflect what this team is about, at all.

“We have some quality players and we have to demonstrate that this week.”

Diskin is keen to see how his team cope with a surprise loss.

“You always get two or three games when you experience adversity and things going against you, but we didn’t expect it in round one,” he conceded.

“We have to learn lessons quite quickly, take the lessons from it and kick on from there.” Diskin said he will not make the en-mass team changes he had considered straight after the opening defeat.

But he stressed: “I can’t justify some players who didn’t feature last week sitting this one out. They will get their opportunity and they have got to grab it.”