Featherstone chairman predicts ‘exciting brand of rugby’ under new coach

Rovers chairman Mark Campbell: "This year's target was the top-two. "
Rovers chairman Mark Campbell: "This year's target was the top-two. "

CLUB chairman Mark Campbell believes supporters will see a “different type of Featherstone” under new head coach John Duffy.

Campbell was impressed with Swinton’s style of play during Duffy’s three years in charge and added that he hadn’t enjoyed watching Rovers under former boss Jon Sharp.

“I think we’ll now see a brand of rugby which will excite people,” said Campbell.

“This is the best squad I’ve had in ten years but it’s the worst team to watch.

“I haven’t enjoyed watching us. I just feel as though we’ve got strike players, we’ve got quality half-backs and a great pack and we haven’t got the best out of them.

“Seeing the way John’s Swinton play and how they’ve attacked - they’re the best attacking team in competition, especially in the final third.

“If they can put that in, we’re in for some exciting times.

“I’ve been really impressed with how Swinton play especially with the ball.

“They’ve been the best attack we’ve faced this year and even parts of last year.

“I can’t wait for John to start working with the players on the training field and getting the most out of the group.

“I had a meeting with the players on Monday night which was really positive and this is a good squad here.

“I’m sure that with John’s nous and his work ethic, he’ll get the best out of them and we’ll see a different type of Featherstone.”

Campbell was disapppointed Rovers missed out on a top-two finish this season.

“This year’s target was the top-two. With everything else, I thought that was realistic,” he said.

“Bradford weren’t going to be as good, I didn’t think Hull KR were as good as Leigh were last year. I thought Batley might stumble a bit, I knew Sheffield were having problems, as did Halifax at the start of the year.”

He denied that Featherstone’s style of play was the main reason the club decided not to retain Jon Sharp.

“It wasn’t an overriding factor for the decision, nor was the Halifax defeat - it wasn’t one specific thing,” he added.

“I just couldn’t see us progressing any further.

“This season was all about preparing for the Qualifiers and I haven’t seen a lot of preparation.

“To find out the players are going on holiday when there’s two weeks before the 8s kind of backs that up.

“We could have done with him (John Duffy) a bit earlier in terms of preparing for the Qualifiers; it’s a bit disappointing the players are going on holiday as we could have done with that time.

“I’d like to think the players might change their mind. It’s a massive opportunity, the Qualifiers, you don’t get those opportunities every year.

“I feel as though this club is in a great position to make their mark.”

Rovers general manager Davide Longo is delighted with Duffy’s appointment.

“We’ve been looking at John and Swinton all season. We’ve played against them and we’ve been impressed with the way they play,” said Longo.

“Looking a bit deeper, we believe that Swinton as a group of players have had some challenging times financially, they’ve had well-documented issues and we believe that John has been working well at Swinton with two arms tied behind his back.

“We feel that what John has achieved in beating teams like Toulouse and Halifax, as well as the win against Huddersfield in the cup, shows this guy can work at the highest level.

“It’s been frustrating to read reports recently that we have got ‘limited resources’ - not a chance. We’ve got great resources. We’ve got a great backroom team that support us, and there’s plenty of resources here for John to use.

“Add to that the dual-registration with Leeds, which is a good working partnership, and we believe we’ve got good resources.”