Rovers coach pleased with new recruits

FEATHERSTONE prop Steve Crossley in action in Tuesday's pre-season match against Hunslet Hawks. PICTURE: STEVE RIDING.
FEATHERSTONE prop Steve Crossley in action in Tuesday's pre-season match against Hunslet Hawks. PICTURE: STEVE RIDING.

COACH Daryl Powell was delighted with the performances of Featherstone’s new signings in a 42-6 win over Hunslet Hawks at Big Fellas Stadium on Tuesday.

Centre Ben Hellewell (from Warrington), prop Steve Crossley (Dewsbury) and winger Tom Hodson (Doncaster) scored tries on their debuts and Lamont Bryan (London), Andy Ellis (Wakefield) and Kurtis Jackson (Hull FC) also made their mark as Featherstone won their first pre-season game.

“I thought Tom Hodson looked really sharp and he’s quick,” said Powell.

“Ben Hellewell was exceptional in the first-half and some of the things he did were high quality. He showed a sublime piece of skill to help set up Hodson’s try.

“We know all about Andy Ellis and he was excellent.

“Steve Crossley is a big unit and he took the ball forward well and scored a smart try. Lamont Bryan had some really good carries and I thought he looked strong.”

Powell was pleased with the displays of replacement hookers Jackson - son of former Great Britain hooker Lee Jackson - and Sam Day, last season’s Featherstone Rovers under 18s player of the year.

“Kurtis Jackson is a good quality kid. He’s quick and his distribution is good,” added Powell.

“He’s a tough kid as well - he left a bloke on the floor for about 30 seconds when he hit him in the ribs.

“Both Kurtis and Sam Day, who is a slightly different player as a hooker, have a lot going for them.”

Half-backs Jonny Hepworth and Kyle Briggs were also both outstanding in Tuesday’s match as Rovers built a commanding 32-0 interval lead. The pair were involved in many of Featherstone’s tries and Briggs kicked four goals.

“Obviously, we’ve got Andy Kain and Liam Finn to go back in but Kyle Briggs played at seven and I thought he did a lot of quality things. It’s great when a player wants to have his hands on the ball and he certainly did against Hunslet,” said Powell.

“Jonny Hepworth looked like he was getting back to his best so it was pleasing all round, particularly in the first 40 minutes.

“I thought the first-half was excellent. The second-half got a bit disjointed but I thought Hunslet played pretty well in the second period.

“It was a good chance for us to have a look at where we are at from a fitness point of view. I thought we looked pretty solid defensively. Obviously, we need to work on our fluency with the ball but that will come in the next month.”

Featherstone are giving a trial to Andy Finn who made his first Rovers appearance from the bench on Tuesday.

Powell said: “Andy Finn is a backrower who has played a fair bit of rugby union and he played in the Warrington Wolves under 20s last season

“We had a first look at him against Hunslet. We have another pre-season game against Doncaster at Big Fellas Stadium on Friday, January 11, when we’ll have another look at him.

“We’ll then see what Andy thinks about us and what we think about him and take it from there.”