Middle 8s ‘will do us world of good’ says Rovers coach

Rovers coach Jon Sharp: "Were going to have to go to a place weve never been before to achieve it but we have some belief and we think well go all right."
Rovers coach Jon Sharp: "Were going to have to go to a place weve never been before to achieve it but we have some belief and we think well go all right."

Jon Sharp is relishing Featherstone’s first venture into the Middle 8s after last Sunday’s stunning win against former World Champions Bradford.

The Rovers coach was highly delighted with his side’s display against the Bulls and now believes they can make an impact in the Middle 8s play-offs.

“The way we’re playing and how we’re playing I think we’ve got to maintain those standards if we are going to knock a Super League team off,” he said.

“We’re going to have to go to a place we’ve never been before to achieve it but we have some belief and we think we’ll go all right.

“We’ve got a group that have experienced a fair amount of Super League - certainly some of them have - and it will do us the world of good.

“We want to represent the club and ourselves really well and whatever happens after that is a bonus.

“I think that gives us a bit of an advantage because the pressure and the challenge for us was making the Middle 8s.

“Now we are here we can have a crack at it. That will be my message to the players – we’ve done something really special, now let’s give it our best shot.

“It’s going to be a journey and the fans are coming along in numbers and enjoying it. Long may it continue.”

Featherstone’s performance last weekend underlined why they have the Championship’s best defensive record.

“We’re a team that is highly-coached that works hard on systems and there’s no flukey victories every week,” added Sharp.

“ It’s no fluke there was a zero against Bradford’s scoreline as we work hard on that.

“Defensively we’ve been good all year. I bang the drum on defence and that off the back of it you’ve a chance of winning games. That proved it on Sunday.

“I thought we defended really really well to put them under pressure.

“I thought our forward pack really dominated.

“We had that mindset that we’d have to play for 80 minutes against a full-time team that probably spends double what we spend.

“It was really important we dug in and worked hard for each other and sacrificed when we were tired and we really did that.”

Sharp was pleased with the displays of half-backs Anthony Thackeray and Kyle Briggs and forward Steve Snitch.

“Snitch was absolutely brilliant - he caused them a lot of problems,” he said.

“Briggs and Thackeray have copped a little bit of criticism - not from me - but we had Briggs out for 12 weeks with an ankle injury and Thackeray out with a facial injury so that’s 16 games at least they’ve not played together.

“They’ve missed a lot of football but they are starting to gel and get used to one another and practice a bit more although Briggs didn’t practice until Saturday as he had a bit of an injury.”

Sharp is delighted with the way the Leeds Rhinos dual-registered players have slotted in this season.

Ashton Golding, Luke Briscoe, Jordan Baldwinson and Anthony Mullally played against the Bulls.

“To a man, every one of them has been absolutely outstanding,” added Sharp.

“They are quality people and that’s the most important thing for me. I don’t want people who have got different attitudes and behaviours but people with high morales who train well and look after themselves and the Leeds boys have been absolutely awesome.

“Hopefully, kids like Golding, Briscoe, Mullally and Baldwinson will kick on and get their chances in the Leeds first team and when they do they will do really well.”