Rovers coach predicts another tight finish

Rovers coach Jon Sharp: "I want us to be a bit better defensively than we have been over the last two or three weeks."
Rovers coach Jon Sharp: "I want us to be a bit better defensively than we have been over the last two or three weeks."

Coach Jon Sharp is tipping another close game when Featherstone visit Dewsbury Rams in the Kingstone Press Championship on Sunday.

Rovers won 21-20 when the sides met at Big Fellas Stadium in March and Sharp expects another tight finish in the return fixture at the Tetley’s Stadium.

“There could be a fag paper between us again. Hopefully, we end up on the right side of the result,” said Sharp.

“Dewsbury always seem to raise their game and play really well against us. The matches between the teams are always tight - there is never much between the sides.

“It’s a small, tight field at Dewsbury and I think it will be a war of attrition.

“We’ve lost a couple of close games as well as winning a couple this season so it’s very much down to being patient for us.

“I want us to be a bit better defensively than we have been over the last two or three weeks.

“I think we need to kick better and I think we need to be patient because I believe the game will be won in the last few minutes.”

With injury problems now easing, Rovers are back to near full strength and Sharp is keen to have a settled side.

“The team has chopped and changed all year but I’ll now try to keep it as it is for as long as I can,” he added.

“We have people back now so they are all playing for places. I know everyone wants to play in the Summer Bash at Blackpool.

“There’s now competition for places every week and we’ve never previously had that. We never had the ability to rotate people so that’s now something that will add to the challenge for the players.”

Sharp was delighted with his side’s display in Sunday’s 42-18 win against second-placed London Broncos.

He believes Rovers are now benefiting from drier conditions as well as from the return of injured players.

“The grounds are now starting to dry up and I’ve said all year that once that happpened we’d see the best from this team,” he said.

“We are certainly looking quick and dangerous and we are finishing off what we are doing. We are looking a better team for the drier tracks.

“I think last Sunday was probably our best all-round display this season.

“Defensively we were really good. We had to absorb a lot of pressure in the second-half because London had a lot of field position and a lot of ball. They had about five sets near the try line and came away with nothing.

“From that, we just started to grow as the game went on and every time we had an opportunity at the other end we took it.

“Offensively, it was best we’ve played with the ball this season by a mile.

“I was really pleased with some combinations as well. Thackeray, Abdull and Craven looked a really potent attacking force.”

The Rovers boss was also pleased with Leeds Rhinos dual-registered winger Luke Briscoe and with John Davies who won the official man of the match award.

“Luke Briscoe was excellent,” he said.

“He took his tries well and other parts of his game were good. He looked safe and looked strong when he carried the ball back.

“He looks a really good addition to the group. He’s got some class about him.

“John Davies had a great game. He just gives everything.”

The battle for the top-four remains wide open.

Said Sharp: “It’s as tight as a drum. If you were a betting man, I don’t know where you’d put your money.

“I think Bradford will improve but I think so will we.

“It’s only the second game we’ve played with this team and we’ve scored 86 points in two games.”

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