Briggs signs two-year Rovers deal

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KYLE Briggs has signed a two-year contract with Featherstone Rovers that will keep him at Bigfellas Stadium until the end of the 2014 season.

The 24-year-old half-back (pictured) rejoined Featherstone in February on a season-long loan deal from Super League club Bradford.

The Bulls signed Briggs from Rovers in January, 2011, on a two-year contract, with an option for a third season.

Rovers coach Daryl Powell is delighted Featherstone have re-signed Briggs, who recently returned to action after being out for three months following a shoulder operation.

“I think it’s an ideal signing for us,” said Powell.

“Bradford told Kyle they would not be renewing his contract next year so obviously that released him to talk to other clubs.

“I think this year has been a tough one for Kyle. Obviously, he got an injury and he was also training in two systems which I think made it really difficult for him.

“He is is now going pretty well again and getting better all the time and hopefully he will hit his best form for the play offs. We are delighted to have him on board for the next two years.

“Obviously, it gives us real options in the half-back roles and Kyle is pretty keen to play at 13 as well. We have Jonny Hepworth who can play at 13 and six and that potentially allows Andy Kain to spend some time at nine as well as six so we’ve some great options there.

“I thought Kyle started off really well at Bradford but then he got injured and I don’t think he’s been given a fair crack to be honest. I think he could have been given more time on the field but it is their coach’s call. It’s unfortunate and disappointing for Kyle but he’s had a go at it now and he can come back with a fresh head on and focus on Featherstone and what we are looking to achieve over the next two years.”

Powell wants defending champions Featherstone to end their league campaign in style in Sunday’s clash against Keighley Cougars at Bigfellas Stadium.

Rovers need just one point from their final league match to be certain of lifting the Co-operative Championship League Leaders’ Shield for the third successive year but Powell is demanding nothing less than a victory.

If Featherstone lose by more than 12 points, they could be pipped for top spot by Leigh who visit lowly Swinton in their last game.

“We need to win on Sunday - it’s a crucial game for us,” said Powell.

“Leigh have done exceptionally well to chase down Halifax and and I expect them to win their last game so we have to beat Keighley. We can’t be thinking anything else is going to happen.

“We can’t be playing for a point, that’s for certain. It’s all about winning the game and that’s what our mentality has got to be.

“We have a great opportunity to finish top of the table but we can only do that if we get the performance right and win the match.”

Rovers are aiming to complete a hat-trick of victories this season over Keighley, who have qualified for the play-offs in sixth spot.

Featherstone won 22-12 at Cougar park in March and then romped to a 60-12 victory on a return visit in the Northern Rail Cup quarterfinals in June but Powell will not be taking anything for granted this weekend.

“It will to be a tough game. Keighley are in play-off contention and they’ll be up for it so we’ll need to play well,” he said.

“Keighley have one of the best defensive records in our division so they are tough to break down.