WHOEVER handles the conditions better will come out on top in tomorrow’s crunch West Yorkshire derby at Mount Pleasant (3pm).
That is the view of Featherstone Rovers boss Jon Sharp whose side are hoping for a third successive Kingstone Press Championship victory, at Batley Bulldogs’ expense.
Batley rose above the mud to crush visitors Halifax 24-6 six days ago, but Rovers found the going much tougher as they battled to an 8-6 win over Swinton Lions.
“The field will probably be similar to last week,” Sharp predicted.
“They played in a quagmire against Halifax and were really good in it.
“They probably handled the conditions better than we did in the Swinton game.
“We need to be on our mettle and play a lot better than we did last week, otherwise we will get beaten.”
Rovers visited Batley in all three competitions last year, winning a Championship encounter, but losing in the Challenge Cup and the Qualifiers.
The two sides are expected to be back in the top-four mix this season and Sharp said: “We are under no illusions how tough it is going to be, especially the way they played against Halifax.
“Overall, if you look at what we did in pre-season games, we have won six out of seven so we are pleased with how we are travelling.
“But it is always a tough game against Batley and we have to play well.”
Bulldogs coach Matt Diskin described tomorrow as a “big game”.
He said: “They will be coming full of confidence after two good wins, but if we want to be competing this year we have got to be beating teams like Featherstone at home.
“It’s a tough one, but we are confident and looking forward to it.”
Bulldogs, who lost at Toulouse in round one and visit Sheffield Eagles next Sunday, have had a testing start, but Diskin insisted they need to be consistent.
He said: “There’s no easy games. We have got to be aware of that. You can’t get up one week and have a rest the following week. You have got to be on your game every week. The top-four will be the most consistent teams, it is no good getting up for big games and letting yourselves down in the so-called smaller ones.”