Featherstone Rovers coach Jon Sharp believes a good start will be important in Sunday’s Super 8s Qualifier at Batley Bulldogs.
Like Batley, Rovers are looking for their first win in the Qualifiers after three straight defeats. Featherstone have been beaten by Leeds, Huddersfield and Leigh while the Bulldogs have lost to Hull KR, London and Huddersfield.
“We need to start well this Sunday,” said Sharp.
“We’ve found ourselves behind early on in the last three matches and it’s almost affected how we’ve played for the rest of those games.
“We need to improve and tidy up how we come out and handle our opening few sets.
“We were competitive for 40 minutes against Leeds, for 60 against Huddersfield and 80 against Leigh but we’ve just got to piece it all together. If we don’t, we will be looking at a similar story because Batley have some good strike players who are capable of scoring points.”
It will be the fourth time the sides have met this year.
Rovers won 34-6 at Batley in July in a winning run that saw them snatch a Championship top-four place. They also beat the Bulldogs 14-12 at Big Fellas Stadium in February but lost 28-10 at Mount Pleasant in the Challenge Cup in April.
“There’s not been much between the teams this season but I thought we were exceptional the last time we played them,” added Sharp.
“We’ve had some tough games against them and we know it is going to be the same this week.
“It’s a big game for both clubs with regards to prize money and the like so we are really keen on going there and playing well again.
“We’ve got three games left in the Qualifiers and we’ll try to muster our troops for this last charge.
“Looking at we how finished the regular season, we’d like to get into a position where we are playing that type of football in the next three weeks. We want to finish the season off really well because it gives us momentum going into the off-season.
“We’ve learned massively from three Qualifiers we’ve played so far. Some players look really comfortable at that next level and some others have found it difficult which is understandable because of the standard of Super League teams we have faced.
“It’s been a real examination of our players and staff and how we handle it, not just as a team but as a club.”