Rovers looking to build on Batley win

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DARYL Powell has ruled out any chance of complacency when champions Featherstone Rovers host strugglers York City Knights at Bigfellas Stadium on Saturday (6pm).

The Rovers boss (pictured) sees it as a “key game” as Featherstone look to build on their confidence-boosting 31-24 win at Batley Bulldogs last weekend.

Featherstone will be strong favourites to beat bottom side York who have lost their opening seven Championship matches.

But Powell insisted: “We won’t be taking anything for granted. We are building ourselves at the moment. We want to play well and develop some consistency.

“Last season York put us under a lot of pressure and played well against us. It will be a tough game this weekend.

“We just need to focus on ourselves and get our performance right.

“We need to build our confidence. We’ve know we can play and we’ve shown we can play at the highest level this year so there’s no fuss about it all.

“It’s just a question of getting back to something close to those levels on a consistent basis. That means every player playing consistently well.

“We’ve made a couple of loan signings recently that have strengthened competition for places and that forces players to have to work hard to stay in the team and that’s an important component.”

With Rovers just three points behind leaders Halifax, Powell believes his side are still well placed.

“I think we’ve been up and down this year and we’ve probably not played our best rugy league,” he said.

“Halifax are currently all guns blazing just as Leigh were last year and I think we just need to go through what are doing without any fuss and get some consistency and pick points up and then we’ll see where we are at the end of the year. We’ve got Halifax to play away further down the track.”

Powell was delighted with his side’s victory at Batley Bulldogs which followed a 60-12 home defeat against Halifax the previous week.

Rovers led 20-6 at half-time at Mount Pleasant but went 24-20 behind before snatching victory in the closing stages.

“Batley is always a tough place to visit. In the last two years two Super League clubs have won there by the skin of their teeth and over the last few years we’ve always won there late on and we managed to do it again,” said Powell.

“I thought we did a great job, particularly in the last 10 minutes, to get the result so it was a big confidence booster for us.

“I thought we were the better team but we looked a little nervous at times although you expect that with what has happened to us.

“To get that result in the manner we did in tough circumstances was probably the best way we could have done it.

Powell was pleased with the form of Nathan Chappell who scored two first-half tries on his first senior appearance of the season after undergoing major knee surgery.

“Nathan looked strong. Physically he looked okay and fitness wise he was fine,” he said.

“He didn’t get his hands on the ball as much in the second-half but he looked a challenge whenever he carried and defensively he was okay. It was good to see him back. He can cover in the outside backs and in the back row so he’s valuable to have around.

“There were some pieces of real top-class skills from Sam Smeaton to put Nathan in for his two tries.”

Rovers will be checking on the fitness of Tommy Saxton (groin injury) who pulled out the day before last Sunday’s game.

Said Powell: “Injuries in the outside backs is an area that has caused us some trouble but once Tommy Saxton comes back into the equation we are looking quite strong.

“It releases Jonny Hepworth back to one of the pivotal roles which helps our game.”

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