Rovers boss delighted with squad ahead of new season

John Duffy: "I'm really excited to see how far we can go with the squad we've got."
John Duffy: "I'm really excited to see how far we can go with the squad we've got."

COACH John Duffy is delighted with Featherstone’s off-season recruitment.

“I’m really happy with the squad. We’ve done a great job in getting who we wanted,” Duffy told The Express.

“I’m really excited to see how far we can go with the squad we’ve got.

“Mark Campbell (club chairman) and Davide Longo (general manager) have been great with me and we’ve got our targets. We’ve managed to get the players we wanted so that’s been brilliant.”

Rovers have snapped up Martyn Ridyard, Shaun Robinson, Tom Holmes and Scott Wheeldon while Connor Farrell and Sam Brooks have signed new contracts after ending last season at Featherstone.

“The new lads have bought in straight away and they are all excited to put on a Fev shirt,” added Duffy.

“We’ve got excellent competition for places. You can see that in training with the quality of players we’ve brought in. I’ve been really impressed with everyone so far.”

Rovers are unlikely to make any more new signings but they will again have the benefit of a dual-registered arrangement with Super League champions Leeds Rhinos.

“I think we are done signing wise. We are happy with who we have got,” said Duffy.

“We are looking forward to continuing our dual-reg partnership with Leeds Rhinos. There are obviously quality players there.”“

Rovers, who have finished fourth in the Championship for the last two seasons, face stiff competition next year but Duffy is not looking too far ahead and is concentrating on making sure pre-season goes well.

He said: “There will be Toronto coming up and Leigh coming down but we are not too bothered about things like that at the minute. We are just concentrating on ourselves and making sure we get ourselves right before we starting thinking about anyone else. We are just excited about getting going.”

Meanwhile, Featherstone Rovers Foundation have announced a long-term partnership with Featherstone Academy.

The Foundation has worked closely with the Academy in recent years and a new agreement will see the two parties move forward for several more years to come.

Rovers community manager Jamie Cording said: “Having strong links with our immediate school network helps us develop the community.

“With us delivering both sporting and academic development, we feel confident this partnership will be good for both parties.

“The rugby training follows Featherstone Academy being accredited by the Rugby Football League as a professional development school.

“Under the guidance of our development officer, Paul March, we hope to see stars of the future representing their hometown team in the not so distant future.”

David Paul, a PE teacher at Featherstone Academy, said: “The support and development of rugby league has been at the forefront of the link.

“Featherstone Rovers donated a specially made Featherstone Academy rugby shirt for the students to wear for fixtures, which makes the students stand out from the other schools in the area.

“Supporting boys and girls teams in extra-curricular training has continued the progression of rugby league.

“Most recently the Featherstone Rovers Foundation began the process of developing sports leaders to achieve a national recognised award.

“This award would then allow our more experienced students to facilitate their own training sessions for the younger year groups and we look forward to continuing this partnership for many years to come.”

Junior Rovers coaching sessions resume this evening (Thursday).

They sessions will take place on Thursdays, during term time, until March, at Pontefract New College.

After that, sessions will take place outside.

Youngsters will be coached by Featherstone Rovers Foundation’s community team who are all qualified in rugby league at level two or above .

All staff hold a valid DBS and are first-aid trained.

Sessions commence at 4.30pm for three to five year olds, with six to eleven year olds taking place from 5pm until 6.00pm.

The first session is free and £2 per week after that.

For more information, contact the Rovers community team on 01977-781674 during normal office hours.

Latest £500 Rovers lottery winners are R Thompson (K4008), D McBurney (C6642), T Heseltine (V4701), M Cook (M2322). Friday: No winner (£2,750 roll-over).

£5 consolation prize: G Gott (V3945).