Powell expecting ‘rugged encounter’ on Boxing Day

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FEATHERSTONE Rovers coach Daryl Powell is looking forward to seeing the club’s young players in action in the Boxing Day friendly against Sharlston Rovers Select at Bigfellas Stadium (11am kick off).

Featherstone’s team will feature players from their under 23s squad, including highly-rated youngsters who have moved up from last season’s under 18s.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing them get out there. We’ve had a bit of time now between games and I think all our fans will be looking forward to seeing how hard the boys have been working,” said Powell (pictured).

“People like Matty Brook and Kyran Johnson have been training the house down and going really well.

“It will be a pretty young side because we’ve got a game the following week on New Year’s Day against Hunslet when it will be a really strong team.

“It will be really interesting to see how they handle it on Boxing Day. No doubt it will be a pretty rugged encounter. It will be really physical and some of the young boys will be tested and challenged.”

The Rovers team will include new recruits Liam Mackay and Jack Ormondroyd who are both centres or back-rowers.

Ormondroyd has been signed from amateurs Drighlington and Mackay is a former Bradford Bulls academy player.

Powell said: “Ormondroyd is a big, tall, lean kid and he’s been training really well.”

Former Sharlston player Danny Grimshaw, Featherstone’s close-season signing from Hunslet, will not play on Boxing day.

Powell said: “Danny was keen to play but I don’t think it was the right time for him to go out there playing. He’ll be playing on New Year’s Day. Danny has got a bit of toe problem that has been bugging him in training so we are going to give him another week to get over that.”

Featherstone’s Boxing Day team is Johnson; N Saxton, Bell, Kirk, Brook; Perkins, Bussey; Mawson, Nurse, Jones, Illey, Lyons, Mackay (captain). Subs: Dandy, Kitchen, Beddis, Ormondroyd, Wright, Coventry, Hickey, Glover.

Sharlston coach Gordon Long says his players are relishing playing against Featherstone.

“When I told the lads about the game the effect was immediate. Everyone was really up for it,” said Long.

“In our squad we have Rovers fans, ex-Rovers players and players who have taken part in finals at Bigfellas Stadium and know what it’s like.

“We will be taking a big squad. We want as many people as possible to enjoy the experience.”

Admission prices on Boxing Day are £3 adults and £1 conessions/children.

Meanwhile, a New Year’s Eve party in the Rovers clubhouse on Saturday, December 31, starts at 6.30pm. Admission is £5.

The club have introduced a limited edition Featherstone Rovers 2011 champions polo shirt to celebrate last season’s achievements.

The shirts cost £22 and are being made to order and need to be paid for at the time of ordering. The closing date for orders will be on January 1 after the Hunslet pre-season game.