Rovers hoping for another 6,000-plus crowd for Bradford clash

Rovers chief executive Pat Cluskey: 'We had a great crowd last year when Bradford came and we'll look to see if we can surpass that."
Rovers chief executive Pat Cluskey: 'We had a great crowd last year when Bradford came and we'll look to see if we can surpass that."

Featherstone’s crucial home Championship match against Bradford Bulls on Sunday could attract a 6,000-plus crowd for the second successive season.

There were 6,346 spectators at last year’s corresponding league fixture – which marked the official opening of Featherstone’s two new stands – and another bumper attendance is expected at this weekend’s winner-takes-all top-four decider.

By Tuesday morning, Bradford had requested 1,800 tickets.

The match is not all ticket but supporters are advised to pre-purchase to avoid congestion at the turnstiles.

For Sunday’s game, Rovers are introducing a £2 upgrade for supporters wishing to sit in the Strata Homes Stand or 70 metre stand. It will be payable inside the stadium.

Ground admission is £18 adults, £12 concessions and £5 juniors.

Rovers chief executive Pat Cluskey said: “We had a great crowd last year when Bradford came and we’ll look to see if we can surpass that.

“We celebrated the opening of the new stands that day but it was opening game of the season in March and it wasn’t the best of days and now we are looking at what is a cup final this Sunday.

“We believe we are the underdogs. If you put one club up against the other, Bradford were in Super League two years ago, they played in the Million Pound game last year and they get significant extra funding above us so it’s a bit of a David versus Goliath battle but I think over the last couple of weeks – and in fact all season – we’ve shown that in the main we are a very competitive team.”

Rovers will receive a welcome windfall from Sunday’s gate receipts and if they beat Bradford, the financial rewards will be much greater.

Mr Cluskey added: “Financially Sunday’s game, of course, will be a boost but even more so would be a victory because of the extra funding for 2017, plus the extra gate receipts for the Middle Eights which would be a bonus because that’s not something we have not budgeted for.

“The minimum we’d get for qualifying for the Middle Eights would be £450,000. We’d get that if we finished bottom but the higher up you finish in the Middle Eights table the more money you get.

“Also, the gate receipts for games in the Middle Eights would be far higher than those in the Championship Shield.

“Rovers have reached Grand Finals in the past which was financially beneficial but there was no promotion even if you won.

“In this one, we’ve a chance of getting into Super League. However slim that chance might be, there is a competition of eight teams and with the Championship teams I believe we’d be able to beat anyone on our day – we’ve proved that most of the season.

“There’s also the possibility of sneaking a win in other games especially at Big Fellas where it is a close, intimidating ground for Super League teams to come to.

“The priority is winning on Sunday but if we do get through, it’s a whole new ball game and it’s something we need to embrace and give a really good go.

“If the players play like they have done for the last two weeks and receive the support they have done for the last two weeks, who knows what can happen.”