Rovers coach: Hull will bring out best in us

There is a chance Kyle Briggs could make his Rovers comeback on Sunday. Picture: Bob Nunn.
There is a chance Kyle Briggs could make his Rovers comeback on Sunday. Picture: Bob Nunn.

Featherstone coach John Bastian is confident his players will “rise to the occasion” when they play Super League side Hull FC at Big Fellas Stadium on Sunday (3pm).

After beating Hunslet, Wakefield and Halifax, Featherstone face their sternest so far in their final pre-season game, which is a testimonial for Hull stalwart Richard Whiting, a former Rovers player.

“It will be a great test for our guys and I fully expect them to rise to the occasion and challenge themselves against quality opposition,” said Bastian.

“Hull FC are certainly a top five team for me. They are a giant of a club with a great fan base and obviously they’ve got ambitions to be winning Super League.

“I think it will bring out the best in us because we are that sort of a team. We’ve got some quality players in our side and they are doing an outstanding job on a part-time basis when they are working full-time. Their work ethic is without doubt a credit to them all.

“We will be giving it our very best this Sunday and it’s great that Rich Whiting has chosen his former club Featherstone to have his testimonial game.

“He fully deserves that with the time he has spent with Hull FC. He is having a wonderful career and we are looking forward to getting in a big crowd for him which he deserves.”

There is a chance Kyle Briggs could make his Rovers comeback on Sunday after major knee injury. He has not played since last April.

Andy Bostock is set to make his first appearance this year and Jack Bussey will be back after missing the win against Halifax but Ian Hardman (rib injury) is doubtful and Andy Kain is still recovering from a groin injury.

“Kyle Briggs might have a chance against Hull. We’ll monitor him this week and see how he goes in training,” said Bastian.

“He has certainly been running well so we are hopefully but we’ll decided on that at the back end of the week. Andy Bostock was down to play against Castleford last weekend. He’s doing okay and he’s working hard.

“He is getting over his groin injury and he has started to intensify his conditioning programme.That’s what we want from Andy - we want him to be super fit. When he’s really fit he will be a big handful on the football field.

“I think Ian is probably 50-50 at the moment. We will monitor it and we if we feel as though he needs another couple of weeks running into our first league game at Dewsbury then we won’t play him on Sunday.

“It’s slow progress with Andy Kain, it’s a case of week to week and we’ll just have to keep monitoring it.

“He’s got some problems with his groin area and it’s a sensitive area but he’s doing the little things to get it fixed up and hopefully he won’t be too far off.”

Bastian was pleased with the way Jack Bussey and new signing Gareth Moore combined at half-back against Hunslet and Wakefield.

“We are pretty close to finding the right combinations. We have one or two people to bring back that haven’t played yet and certainly Kyle Briggs is one of those,” added Bastian.

“Kyle is a quality halfback and we are certainly looking forward to getting him back on the paddock. Saying that, I’ve been very impressed with Jack Bussey and Gareth Moore.They have been particularly good. They are two players who have put down a really strong marker down for half-backs positions.”

Josh Sunley has been ruled out of Sunday’s game after picking up a one-match ban. He submitted an early guilty plea after being charged with punching in the closing stages against Halifax when he was sin-binned along with Fax’s Dane Manning.