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Featherstone boss wary of threat from ‘fluent’ Dewsbury

Harry Newman celebrates one of his three tries against Rochdale with his Featherstone Rovers team-mates. Picture: Dec Hayes
Harry Newman celebrates one of his three tries against Rochdale with his Featherstone Rovers team-mates. Picture: Dec Hayes

Featherstone Rovers boss John Duffy is gearing his side up for what he sees as a tough game at home against Dewsbury Rams on Sunday despite their opponents having slipped down the table after a flying start to the 2018 campaign.

The Rams opened the season with three wins from their first four games and in the one they lost they pushed Rovers’ top four rivals, London Broncos, close.

But they have not won since February 25 with two matches postponed and defeats suffered in their last three Betfred Championship outings.

They also crashed out of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup to lower league Whitehaven, but Featherstone head coach Duffy believes they are a capable and dangerous side and will have the benefit of not playing twice over Easter after their planned game with Halifax was called off on Monday. In contrast Featherstone are just coming out of a hectic period with five games in three weeks.

Duffy said: “Dewsbury are playing some good rugby at the minute, they are playing a lot more fluent than last season.

“They’ll be raring for a game as well with their game being called off. So we’ve got to make sure we do the right things this week.

“We want another big performance in front of our fans.

“From the North Wales game I think we’ve played five times in 20 days so we’ve got to look after our boys now looking towards Sunday.”

Duffy will be pleased if his side can carry on the good work from Monday’s 42-0 win at Rochdale Hornets when he was pleased with the defence as well as an attack that crossed for eight tries.

He said: “We’ve spoken about our defence and we needed to be on it because Rochdale are throwing the ball about a lot more than last season and they have exposed some in the last few weeks.

“The results are not going their way at the minute, but they are playing some good rugby so I’m glad we defended our line like we did – it meant a lot to us.

“We had some sloppy tries scored against us on Friday (against Toronto) so the lads wanted to make up for that.

“We were very professional in terms of our performance and managed to prevent Rochdale from scoring, which I am delighted about.

“Rochdale have proven how dangerous they can be in recent weeks, so we had to deal with what they were going to throw at us.

“In terrible conditions the boys performed very well.”

Duffy praised his hat-trick heroes, Harry Newman and Luke Briscoe, who was delighted to set a new club record of scoring tries in 11 consecutive games.

He added: “I’m real pleased that we got Luke over for his record breaking try.

“He is on fire at the moment and deserves everything he is getting after working hard in the close season.

“Harry has been fantastic for us and it was special for him to get a hat-trick.

He deserved it after all of the effort he has put in.

“He started the game really well and he’s been fantastic for us since he came over to us from the Rhinos.”