Rovers coach looking for strong start against London

Jon Sharp: "It's going to be a tough game because we've got a few injuries."
Jon Sharp: "It's going to be a tough game because we've got a few injuries."

Featherstone coach Jon Sharp is looking for a strong start from his injury-hit side to Sunday’s Championship clash against London Broncos at Big Fellas Stadium.

Rovers were 16-0 down after 16 minutes in their last home game against Toulouse, which they lost 34-26 and they also conceded an early converted try at Dewsbury last Sunday before replying with 38 unanswered points.

“You don’t win a game in the first 10 minutes but you can certainly lose one and we need to be much better in that area,” said Sharp.

“We’ve addressed it and spoken about it and we know we need to be better at the start.

“At the moment it’s like we are dipping our toe in the water and testing how hot it is before we jump in.”

With key men missing, Sharp expects a big test against full-time outfit London who finished second in the Championship last season, two places above Rovers.

The Broncos will look to bounce back after losing at Sheffield Eagles last weekend.

“It’s going to be a tough game because we’ve got a few injuries,” added Sharp.

“We will have four or five players out but some other blokes will get an opportunity and hopefully they will take it.

“Every game is a big game but when you are near the top you can’t afford to slip.

“We are joint second behind Hull KR and I’m sure they are going to keep winning so we have to turn up against London like we did last weekend irrespective of who we have missing and put in a good shift.

“We are in good form and playing well. Seven wins out of nine is not a bad return at such an early stage in the year.

“Last season we beat Londson twice and they beat us twice. It was nip and tuck all the way through and I should imagine it will be the same again this year.

“I think we can expect a response from them after their defeat against Sheffield but we’ll still focus on what we need to do.

“I think we need to be a team that plays football and moves the ball around and challenges the opposition, as well as being resolute in defence. We are going to have to be this week because there’s plenty of ball movement from London and they certainly challenge you right across the park.

“They have good players in all positions so we need to be really good in defence.”

Sharp was happy with his side’s all-round performance at Dewsbury last Sunday.

“We played some excellent football and scored some really good tries,” said Sharp.

“We made probably five clean line breaks without scoring from them so we were really good in offence.

“Defensively we worked hard after the Toulouse game and we were magnificent at Dewsbury, going down to 12 men and not conceding a point, and then going down to 11. It was just an absolutely outstanding performance from everybody.

“We looked a bit nervous against Toulouse and I think the start to that game shocked us.

“We settled back down and got back into the game and that gave us a little bit comfort but it was about winning last weekend and winning well and I thought we did that in difficult circumstances.”

The Rovers boss was pleased with the display of on-loan half-back Cory Aston who scored 22 points at Dewsbury on his first start for Rovers.

“I was delighted with Cory Aston,” he added.

“I thought the way the pivots played with Matty Wildie coming off the bench and freshening Keal Carlile up worked out great. I got that shape together that I’ve been wanting to for a while.”

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