Rovers aim to keep up good work

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FEATHERSTONE coach Daryl Powell (pictured) is looking for another top-notch display when Hunslet visit Bigfellas Stadium on Sunday (3pm).

Rovers gave a breathtaking show in last weekend’s 90-10 win over Toulouse and Powell is keen his side maintain the high standard against Hunslet.

Rovers have thrashed Hunslet twice at South Leeds Stadium this season but the Hawks have recently improved, losing narrowly to Halifax and Widnes in their last two matches.

Powell has ruled out any chance of complacency as Rovers aim to stretch their unbeaten league run to 12 matches.

“Hunslet are going well. They’ve been beaten on the last play in both their last two matches so they’ve been pretty unlucky recently,” he said.

“We won’t be taking anything for granted. We are talking about standards all the time in the way we are going about things. It’s a key factor for us that we don’t worry too much about results at the end of the day, it’s about our performance.

“We need to keep our standards where they have to be and if we do that we are going to be there or thereabouts. We are a tough team to beat when we are on our standards.”

Rovers, who will regain top spot from Leigh if they beat Hunslet, have a tricky run in to the season.

Powell said: “We’ve got Widnes twice and Sheffield twice and Batley away to name a few. It’s going to be tough but that’s the way it is because it’s a tough competition.

“We are not far off where we were last season. I don’t think we’ve been as consistently good over the first 11 games but we are not far off so I think we are doing all right.

“It’s important we are there at the end and are playing well at the end. To be able to get into the right position in the play-offs we are going to have to be consistent.

“Our team is starting to settle down a little bit. We’ve lost a couple of players but people are playing well. There’s quite a few players who have run into form recently and a lot of players played well last weekend.”

Rovers will almost certainly be without props Mick Haley (broken arm) and Iain Morrison (broken jaw) for the rest of the season.

Centre Nathan Chappell is also set to miss the rest of the campaign.

Chappell had a clean-out operation on his knee but it now seems likely he will require further surgery because of cruciate ligament damage.

Powell said: “Nathan has a problem with his anterior cruciate ligament so there is potentially another operation for him so I think it’s unlikely he’ll figure again this season.

“I would say that both Mick Haley and Iain Morrison have gone for the season so we’ve got to run with what we’ve got at the moment.

“I think what we’ve got is pretty good. Ross Divorty can obviously play in the front row and also at 13 for us.

“Matty Dale came back at the weekend and that was a big plus for us and that gave us some flexibility with Ross.

“We’ve got Ben Gledhill on loan, Stuart Dickens is playing outstandingly well at the moment and Tony Tonks has come back from his operation pretty well so whilst we haven’t got everyone 100 per cent fit we are looking okay. Our squad is still looking strong.”

Andy Bostock played in Thursday night’s reserves match at Oldham after being left out against Toulouse.

Powell said: “Andy was left out of the team - he has not been playing well enough. Jon Hepworth has stepped into the centres and I think he looks great there. I’ve been really pleased with the way he has stepped in. I think he has been outstanding in the last two games.

“I’ve asked Andy to get a little bit fitter partcularly if he’s going to play in the back row so that’s where we are at the moment. Andy will play in the reserves on Thursday.”

Former Featherstone prop Dominic Dee has signed a permanent deal with Championship One side Doncaster after intitially joining them on loan.

“I think the standard was just a little bit high for Dom at our level,” said Powell.

“He struggled to get into the team and retain his place when he did get a shot. I thought he looked pretty good with the ball at times but defensively I don’t think he was where we needed him to be. He has stepped down a level and maybe he can build his game there so we wish him all the best.”

The Rovers boss was thrilled with his side’s performance against Toulouse last weekend.

He said: “It was an outstanding performance in both attack and defence and I was really pleased with it.

“We’ve focused a fair bit on defence and that was the foundation but we were also able to express ourselves with the ball which enabled us to score a fair number of points.

“It was built on the back of working hard as well, which is pleasing. We’d talked about our go forward and making sure that we got that right and then some of the skill we showed was top level.

“Our kicking game is growing all the time. Liam Finn has the ability to get the ball where it needs to be and Andy Kain is working pretty well on the back of that as well.

“If you add Kirk Netherton with his left-footed kicks out of dummy half then it’s given us a number of options. That’s pretty pleasing when you’ve got the options from a kicking point of view and the guys are also getting more accurate with what they are doing with their kicking game.”

Rovers under 18s host Crusaders in a Valvoline Academy fixture on Saturday (2.30). Amission is £3 adults and £1 concessions.

Featherstone’s Championship game at Batley has has been brought forward to Thursday, July 21, for live coverage on Sky TV.

Rovers are hosting a sportsman’s dinner at Bigfellas Stadium on Friday, August 12 (7.30pm).

Special guests will be Leeds United legends Eddie Gray and Peter Lorimer. The MC will be Pete Emmet.

There will be a three-course meal and sports memorabilia auction. Tickets cost £30 each with tables of eight and ten available. To book contact the club on 01977-702386.

Latest £500 winners in the Rovers lottery are D Asquith (F2366), C Anderson (I5723), M Andrejesik (J6632), V Sturgess (K5068), T Anderson (M2479). Travellers Rest meal voucher: T Horobin (V1233).