Rovers coach: We need to be more clinical

Hooker Andy Ellis is pictured setting up a Featherstone attack on his return to the side against Dewsbury last Sunday. Picture: Carol Austerberry.
Hooker Andy Ellis is pictured setting up a Featherstone attack on his return to the side against Dewsbury last Sunday. Picture: Carol Austerberry.

Coach Jon Sharp is looking for an improvement in Featherstone’s finishing in Sunday’s Kingstone Press Championship game at Swinton Lions.

With several other top teams facing each other this weekend, Rovers have a chance to step up their top-four bid with a fourth straight win at Heywood Road, Sale, where Swinton will play a home fixture for the first time this Sunday.

Featherstone also have a game in hand on most of their rivals after the postponement of last month’s match at Whitehaven.

Swinton are still looking for their first victory after achieving promotion but Sharp will not take them lightly.

“It’s an important game for us this Sunday. If we win I think we can jump up another couple of places because of the other fixtures in this round,” he said.

“It’s really important we stay focused and we maintain the intensity that we have shown so far this season and not look on Swinton with any disrespect.

“I’ve watched videos of Swinton and they look like they can play.

“There are surprise results every week in the Championship but fortunately there is an intensity and a purpose about our group and how we train and how we play.”

Sharp was pleased with last Sunday’s 21-20 win against Dewsbury Rams but missed chances disapppointed him.

“We need to more clinical with our finishing. We need to improve our execution in attack when we get to the other end of the field and near the try line,” he added.

“We are blowing too many chances.

“When you look at the video of last Sunday’s game and pause and rewind the action you’ll see we’ve created a lot of opportunties that a professional team who are at a high standard should be taking.

“We probably missed four or five chances with just simple draw and pass plays. That will improve as the weather picks up and we started to execute better.”

Sharp praised Andy Ellis after the experienced hooker made an impressive comeback last Sunday.

The 31-year-old left Featherstone at the end of last season to take a year off from the game to do a full-time teacher training course.

His return has given the club a huge boost after they were rocked by the loss of specialist hooker Matty Wildie, a close-season signing from Dewbury Rams, for the rest of the campaign with a knee injury.

“Ellis was absolutely fantastic last Sunday,” said Sharp.

“ When you’ve got a brand new team with 11 new players and then lose your number nine things take time to get back on track and get smooth.

“Andy just slotted in like he had never been away. He has trained with us for two weeks just to see how things were done and he picked it up really quickly.

“He’s looked after himself anyway - he’s a fit kid. We are really pleased to have him back.

“We’ll modify his training and look after him because we know he’s got commitments elsewhere.”

Rovers have a hospitality package available for their next home game against Sheffield Eagles on Friday, March 25 (7.30pm).

The package includes a two-course meal and costs £30 for season ticket holders and £45 for non-season ticket holders.

For details call 01977-702386 or e-mail paul.taylor@ featherstonerovers.net