Sharp wants Rovers to show more patience in attack

Jon Sharp: "We need to be more patient and not try to score off every play."
Jon Sharp: "We need to be more patient and not try to score off every play."

JON SHARP wants Featherstone to more patient in their approach play and ruthless in their finishing in Sunday’s Championship clash against Sheffield Eagles at Wakefield Trinity (7.30pm kick-off).

The Rovers boss is looking for a much sharper performance after last Sunday’s surprise home defeat against Rochdale Hornets.

He expects the usual tough battle against old rivals Sheffield.

“Whatever has happened in the past or any injuries either team has, it is always a tight affair and one that Sheffield always seem to get up for,” said Sharp.

“Mark Aston enjoys coaching against Featherstone and bumping Sheffield up ready to play so we are expecting a tough, physical encounter.

“We need to be more patient and not try to score off every play but still try to play football.

“We also need to take our opportunities and be more ruthless.”

After beating Halifax, Batley and Swinton, Featherstone are seeking a fourth successive away victory on Sunday.

They will play at Sheffield’s temporary Belle Vue home shortly after Trinity have faced Salford Red Devils at the same venue in a Super League clash that kicks off at 3pm.

Sharp is not worried about the condition of the Belle Vue pitch although he admits Featherstone’s usual style of play is not suited to heavy conditions.

“Conditions are a leveller. These are comments that Tony Smith has made about his Warrington Wolves team and I totally agree with him,” added Sharp.

“We are a fast, footballing team and the way our field is at the moment is just not conducive to how we want to play.

“Wakefield have a good pitch. It’s a good surface that dries out quickly but we’ve got to handle whatever is thrown at us - I think that’s the key.

“I hope it’s a dry day on Sunday but if it’s not, it is not an issue. We will deal with whatever comes our way.”

Rovers came through last Sunday’s game without any new injuries but they are still without Brad Tagg (ankle) and captain Misi Taulapapa (visa issue).

Sharp will be checking on the availability of dual registered Leeds players. The Rhinos host Catalans Dragons at Headingley tomorrow evening (Friday).

Sharp was bitterly disapppointed with the 10-9 defeat against promoted Rochdale who were the first visiting team to win a league game at Big Fellas Stadium since Leigh Centurions 11 months ago.

Featherstone failed to snap up their chances and were also unable to close the game out when they led led 9-8 in the dying minutes.

“We’ve gone through the footage and there’s three or four clear try-scoring opportunities that we missed,” said Sharp.

“Wildie dropped the ball over the line, Thackeray went through three times, Walton has gone through and we threw that away and Hardcastle had an opportunity to put his winger in at the corner.

“Also, we didn’t stay composed in the closing stages like we have in other games this year.

“We missed a kick to touch and then a crucial tackle that resulted in a penalty and we paid the price for it.

“We got ourselves back into the game and ultimately we were in front going into the last five minutes but I just didn’t think we handled that situation well whereas in the past we’ve been really strong and focused and played out the remaining time extremely well and been clinical with it.

“Last Sunday we looked like a different team. There were people in key areas making some dumb decisions which ultimately came back to haunt us.”

Rovers trailed 8-2 at half-time after struggling to put their game together in the atrocious conditions.

Said Sharp: “I don’t know if we fell in love with ourselves or whether certain individuals were over confident but we didn’t play the conditions well at all and didn’t build enough pressure. There were far too many blokes having off-days all at once and you can’t afford to do that.”