The Long goodbye for Featherstone Rovers

Sean Long at the end of Sunday's game at Featherstone.
Sean Long at the end of Sunday's game at Featherstone.

Sean Long was linked with a coaching job at Hull FC this week after his two months as team manager at Featherstone Rovers came to an earlier than anticipated end on Sunday.

Former Great Britain player Long was brought in at the Bigfellas Stadium at the start of August, but oversaw his last game when Rovers lost out on making the Kingstone Press Championship grand final in heartbreaking golden point fashion against Batley Bulldogs.

It was the only defeat since Long came in, but with Featherstone’s season at an end and new head coach John Bastian set to come in once his commitments with Warrington are over he admitted he would be looking for another job.

He was immediately linked with Hull following the sacking of head coach Peter Gentle on Tuesday, but they have gone with Lee Radford, assisted by Andy Last with former New Zealand international Motu Tony as football manager.

Long spoke of his enjoyment of his two months at Featherstone.

He said: “I’ve loved my time at Featherstone. The fans have been great and so have the board.

“The players have been unbelievable. They’ve given me everything and they gave me everything against Batley right to the death and I thanked them for that.

“As I’ve said to all the lads, they’ve done me proud and done themselves proud for the last eight weeks.

“The club are on their way forward. They are building new facilities and putting a really strong squad together.”

Long was obviously disappointed to bow out with defeat and felt Rovers had been unlucky not just in the manner of the loss, but also with decisions from referee Chris Leatherbarrow.

He said: “We had a couple of drop goal chances in extra-time, but it was just not to be.

“In extra-time, I thought there was a dead set high tackle on Sam Barlow at the left hand side of the posts. He knocked his head off. If it hadn’t been a high tackle, he would have played the ball normally and then we could have had a quick play the ball and got a drop goal. He knocked his head off and slowed the play right down.

“I thought if a couple of decisions had gone our way it could have been different.

“Batley got another set of six from what was ruled to be a charge down, but we never go for charge downs. We practice no charge downs and always turn our backs and never give them another set of six.

“One time we went for a drop goal and they charged it down and we didn’t get another set of six.

“A couple of little things like that didn’t go our way.”

Long rued the bad luck before kick-off when Featherstone lost the services of Andy Bostock in the warm-up.

He added: “Andy Bostock had trained all week and then at the last minute in the warm-up he pulled out so we had to rejig the team a bit. We missed one big man.

“Batley had a couple of big lads coming off the bench and they just rolled us in the middle and normally we have Andy Bostock coming on and he takes us forward in the second-half so it was a huge loss.

“But I can’t fault any of the lads. I thought Benny Kaye was outstanding.

“It’s hard to keep players on such a high for so long. We won the League Leaders’ Shield and I’ve been telling the players for weeks that’s gone, but sometimes it plays in the back of your mind.”