Powell: It’s always tough at Batley

Frankie Mariano scored a try on his Rovers debut against Halifax. PICXTURE: BOB NUNN.
Frankie Mariano scored a try on his Rovers debut against Halifax. PICXTURE: BOB NUNN.

After climbing to second in the Kingstone Press Championship with last weekend’s impressive 40-18 win over leaders Halifax, Featherstone Rovers have a difficult game against Batley at Mount Pleasant on Sunday.

The Bulldogs will look to bounce back after losing 20-0 at Leigh Centurions last time out.

Rovers coach Daryl Powell said: “Batley are a good side and they play on a pitch that dictates the way a game is played. Obviously, they are used to playing on it more than anyone else so it’s always a difficult game at Batley.

“We’ll go there with a fair bit of confidence in our recent form and we’ve got to go and play and challenge Batley all across the field which I am confident we will do.

“Batley had a pretty heavy loss last week at Leigh which they will be pretty disappointed about and and I’m sure they will be looking to respond.”

Powell believes Rovers have turned the corner with improved displays against Halifax and London Broncos.

“The players have been working hard to get our game flowing and it’s starting to come at the moment. There’s a toughness about us that we’ve been striving for defensively and there’s a flow to our attacking game,” he said.

“Obviously, we are still looking to improve and develop our collective game but there have been some really positive signs in the last two matches.

“We’ve been waiting for players to come to the fore and there’s still a couple of players who have a way to go but if you’ve got 10 or 11 of your players going really well - whereas in the past we’ve had three and four - then it makes a massive difference.

“There’s been a bit of a flick of a switch and the players are on it at the minute. We’ve got some tough challenges coming up so we need to try to maintain that. We’ve been talking all the time about trying to improve individual players’ performances and I had a bit of a chat with the leadership group before we played London and I think the response has been there from everybody not just the senior guys. I think there’s been a collective response and that’s really helped us to grow our game.

“We could easily have beaten London which would have been massive for us but in the big scheme of things it certainly did the trick in terms of turning our mentality round a little bit and there were further signs of that last Sunday against Halifax.”

Powell was pleased with the performances of new signings Will Sharp and Frankie Mariano on their debuts against Halifax.

Former Hull player Sharp started on the wing and Mariano scored a try after going as a substitute.

Powell said: “Mariano got in a couple of lines breaks and scored a try. He’s a big kid and the sort of strike back-rower we’ve been looking for. Sharp looks quick and he dealt with everything that was thrown his way pretty comfortably. There’s more to come from both players and as people they’ve slotted in pretty much straight away which is obviously pretty important.”