EXPERIENCED packman Scott Wheeldon believes Featherstone’s cleansheet in the second-half was one of the most pleasing features of their victory at Castleford Tigers on Boxing Day.
Trailing 16-10 at half-time, Rovers scored 22 unanswered points in the second period to win their first warm-up match 32-16, with new half-backs Martyn Ridyard and Tom Holmes playing key roles.
Wheeldon, a close-season signing from Sheffield Eagles, said: “I think keeping Castleford scoreless in the second-half will please us more than anything.
“Martyn Ridyard and Tom Holmes were very impressive and led us around the pitch.
“Those sort of blokes stand up the most when you are trailing to keep the team functioning and I thought they did that brilliantly.
“The performance from throughout the team was good but those two really led us about.”
Wheeldon, who made his first Featherstone appearance in 2005 on loan from Hull FC, scored a try on his second Rovers debut against one of his former clubs Castleford.
“I was delighted to get over for a try and it was a fantastic performance by everyone so it was a good day,” he added.
“The focus on us was doing what we had spoken about and remembering what we wanted to get out of it and I think we did that.
“We had some ball handling errors in the first-half which didn’t help us but it didn’t affect us for the rest of the game and we managed to get the win.
“It was a bit of a rusty start personally from me.
“There were a couple of soft errors in the first-half when I dropped the ball but I suppose it was a case of getting them out of the way early and go into the season running.
“There’s a long way to go yet and a few more friendlies to notch off before the season starts.
“There are plenty of things to brush up on which I’m sure they will bring up on the video session when we sit down to do that but the first hit-out was a positive one and we should be happy with ourselves.”
Wheeldon’s fellow forwards Frankie Mariano and Brad Knowles both agreed Rovers have plenty to work on ahead of home pre-season fixtures this month against Halifax, York City Knights and Super League champions Leeds.
Scotland international Mariano said: “It was great to get a win at Castleford but obviously we’ve a lot to improve on.
“It was a good baseline for us. We know where we went wrong and there were a lot of mistakes in the game so we can now work on that in training.
“We can work on the errors and fix them up ahead of the friendlies in January so you can expect more sparks from us in the games coming up.”
Knowles said: “I think we’ve still got a lot to work on but it was good to get some minutes on the field.
“Castleford had some second-team lads in their team and we can’t really take the win too seriously.
“We just needed to see where we were structure wise. It was more about us than it was about them. I think we did well.
“We’ve got structures in place and certain terms and words we use and all we did was talk to each other throughout the game and we used those structures and stuck to them and it paid off for us.
“We had a bit of time off after the Castleford game to recover and then we are back into training. We’ve got a training camp to go to so after enjoying some time off with our families we will rip in when we get back.”
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