Baldwinson expects Rovers to give Rhinos tough game

Jordan Baldwinson: "I think it will be a good occasion."
Jordan Baldwinson: "I think it will be a good occasion."

HAVING PLAYED for both teams this year prop Jordan Baldwinson reckons Featherstone Rovers will give Leeds Rhinos a tough game in tonight’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-final.

Baldwinson has featured 11 times for Rhinos in 2017 and in nine games on dual-registration with Rovers, including their Kingstone Press Championship win over Bradford Bulls five days ago.

He has been named in Leeds’ initial 19-man squad for tonight and is keen for a crack at his sometime teammates, but admitted it will be a surreal occasion.

“I have played in the Challenge Cup for Leeds this year so I am cup tied to Leeds Rhinos,” said Baldwinson, whose Rovers career includes five tries in 70 appearances.

“That means I can’t play for Featherstone this week, but it will be a strange one for me.

“I have spent a lot of time at Featherstone, but I do want Leeds Rhinos to win. I think it will be a tough one. Featherstone are doing quite well in the Championship and I have been in and out of both teams so it’s a mixture of feelings.

“But I would like to put the Leeds shirt on this week and feature against Featherstone. I think it will be a good occasion and it is a good opportunity for me to get some more game time.”

Rovers are fourth in the Kingstone Press Championship, have lost just once in their last nine matches and drew 24-24 with table-topping Hull KR two weeks ago. That was one of only two league games the former Super League side have not won this year and Baldwinson reckons Rovers’ performance that afternoon was a warning to Leeds.

“I thought we were the better team,” he said. “Just a bit of experience from Hull KR managed to clinch a draw for them, but throughout the whole game I thought we were quite dominant.

“Hull KR are up there as good as some Super League teams, so we can’t take Featherstone lightly. They have got a good squad. Jon (Sharp, Rovers’ coach) has picked up some really good players this season and they will come to Leeds wanting to win. They won’t come half-hearted so it will be a really tough one and we are going to have to play well.”