Aussie Hitchcox set for Rovers debut

Garreth Carvell could make his Rovers debut at Lock Lane. Picture: Bob Nunn.
Garreth Carvell could make his Rovers debut at Lock Lane. Picture: Bob Nunn.

Australian recruit Jy Hitchcox will make his Featherstone Rovers debut against amateur club Lock Lane on Saturday.

New signing Garreth Carvell could also have a run out in Featherstone’s newly-arranged friendly against National Conference League Premier Division opponents at Lock Lane Sports Arena, Castleford (1.30pm kick-off).

The Rovers line-up could also include scrum-half Gareth Moore who missed the recent pre-season game against York City Knights.

Three-quarter Hitchcox, signed from NRL club West Tigers on as two-year contract, arrived at Featherstone on Saturday and trained with his new teammates for the first time on Monday night.

Rovers coach Andy Hay is looking forward to seeing him in action on Saturday.

“We will have a look at Jy at full-back and probably centre. It gives me an opportunity to move players around and have a good look them,” he said.

“It will be good for Jy to get a game under his belt. He looks in good shape.

“We will put out a mixed team. We will have some quality out there but we will also have some of the younger guys as well.

“We have quite a few players who haven’t yet played so I want to give them a run out. I’d also like to see some of the other players who have already played.

“There is a good chance Garreth Carvell will play this Saturday but we don’t want to push him too much. We just want to get him up to speed at the minute and once we do he’ll play. If he’s fit to go this week, he’ll play.

“Gaz Moore missed the York game so he will probably have a run out. I’d like him to have another game under his belt before we start the season.

“We’ll see Sam Irwin in the halves again and have a look at him and also at Will Milner to see how they go.”

Hay confirmed that places were still up for grabs for Featherstone’s opening Championship game against Hunslet Hawks.

“I haven’t finalised anything yet,” he added.

“There are a couple of players who have put down a good marker in the last few games.

“I want to try a few different combinations and move players around in different positions again before we have a week of training next week.”

Hay saw Saturday’s opponents Lock Lane in action in last Saturday’s 64-0 Challenge Cup win against Sharlston Rovers.

He was accompanied by Hitchcox who arrived from Australia earlier in the day.

“I took Jy down to watch Lock Lane play Sharlston to sample some of the atmosphere,” said Hay.

“It was a good win for Lock Lane. They have a good young side and there are some quality players in there. A few of them have come out of the academies at Cas and been to clubs and come back.

“It will be a good test for us this weekend and it will benefit us to get a game. It gives us a chance to play and we can have look at some of the younger lads as well.”

Rovers are still awaiting the arrival of their other Aussie signings Reni Maitua and Ryan Verlinden.

Hay said: “We have a phone call every day and an e-mail every day to see if there any updates. We are just waiting for the updates from their end.”

Rovers have hospitality packages available for their opening Championship game against Hunslet Hawks at Wakefield Wildcats on Monday, February 16 (7.30pm).

For more information contact Rovers commercial manager Paul Taylor on 01977 702386 or email paul.taylor@featherstonerovers.net

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