Rovers coach complains of headache after frustrating game against Sheffield

Matty Wildie scores Featherstone's first try against Sheffield this afternoon. Picture: Carol Austerberry.
Matty Wildie scores Featherstone's first try against Sheffield this afternoon. Picture: Carol Austerberry.

FEATHERSTONE Rovers gave one of their worst displays this season but still managed to scrape a 25-14 win over Sheffield Eagles at LD Nutrition Stadium.

With a completion rate of just 45 per cent, Rovers struggled to put their game together and Sheffield weren’t any better.

Featherstone coach Jon Sharp complained afterwards that watching Sunday’s error-strewn clash had given him a headache while his Sheffield counterpart Mark Aston agreed the standard of the game was poor.

Numerous penalties, scrums and dropped balls made it a frustrating afternoon for players and spectators alike in the windy conditions.

On-loan Cory Aston earned the family bragging right as Rovers completed a league double over the Eagles who are coached by his father Mark.

The 22-year-old Leeds Rhinos half back kicked five goals including a drop goal as Rovers came out on top.

Simon Brown kicked a fourth minute penalty to give Sheffield the lead but Rovers led 16-2 at the break after Matty Wildie went over from close range for the first of their four tries.

The Eagles were reduced to 12 men when Greg Burns was sin-binned in the 23rd minute for ball stealing shortly after the visitors were put on a team warning.

Rovers quickly capitalised when Keal Carlile – one of five former Sheffield players in Featherstone’s line-up - forced his way over.

Carlile was held up over the line before Featherstone scored again shortly before half-time when Chris Ulugia put in another ex-Eagles player Scott Turner.

Aston increased Featherstone’s lead with a 42nd minute penalty goal but the Eagles fought back.

Former Sheffield three-quarter Misi Taulapapa, making his 200th appearance in the British game, dropped a pass and Garry Lo snapped up the ball to race 70 yards to score.

Brown, who impressed with his excellent kicking game, converted to reduce the deficit to 10 points.

Aston kicked another goal after Sheffield’s Mark Mexico was penalised but the Eagles again got back within striking distance when Mexico made amends by plunging over for a try.

Rovers then struck an important blow when dual-registered Leeds Rhinos forward Josh Walters sent in Ulugia near the corner for a 60th minute touchdown.

Aston kicked a drop goal and Featherstone held out in the closing stages.

“We’ve got to improve on what we did out there,” said Sharp.

Featherstone Rovers: Hardman; Turner, Ulugia, Hardcastle, Taulapapa; Wildie, Aston; Moore, Carlile, Baldwinson, Walters, Davies, Lockwood. Subs: Cooper, Griffin, Oledzki, Ormondroyd.

Sheffield Eagles: Millar; Lo, Yere, Johnson, Blackmore; Minchella, Brown; Wheeldon, Fozzard, Mexico, James, Scott, Cox, Hope. Subs: Burns, Trout, Whiteley, Cox.

Referee: Andy Sweet (Castleford).

Attendance: 2,267.