Featherstone Rovers overpower Hunslet in one-sided friendly

Frankie Mariano
Frankie Mariano
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Featherstone Rovers were far too strong for visitors Hunslet in the annual Gareth Swift memorial match, easing to a 52-6 victory.

Hunslet took advantage of their only real first half chance to open the scoring after 12 minutes, but were under heavy pressure for the rest of the game.

Rovers led 18-6 at the break and continued to dominate afterwards, adding six more tries to take their tally to 10.

Two-try Frankie Mariano impressed in a strong team display for Rovers, with Scott Turner, Matty Wildie and Sam Day also catching the eye.

Rovers’ Championship campaign begins a month before Hunslet kick-off in League One - though the Leeds side have a couple of cup ties first.

They looked far from match-ready and had little opportunity with the ball, but defended strongly early on before running out of steam.

The visitors started well, captain George Flanagan dummying over from close-range, against his former club, to break the deadlock after Liam Mackay had gone close.

Joe Sanderson converted, but an error and penalty following the restart put Featherstone on the front foot and Mariano - signed from Castleford - crashed over after Keal Carlile and Wildie had handled.

Michael Knowles could not add the extras, but Rovers went ahead soon afterwards when Turner spotted a gap from acting-half, burst down the hill and sent in the supporting Ian Hardman , who also converted.

Turner, who missed much of last season due to a serious knee injury, then crossed himself before Luke Briscoe completed the first half scoring with a powerful finish after neat play by lively duo Day and Anthony Thackeray.

Mariano added his second touchdown soon after half-time, created by fellow signing Jason Walton and then Wildie left the defence standing for a solo score, moments after Jimmy Watson had narrowly failed to ground Danny Ansell’s kick at the other end.

Wildie sent Josh Hardcastle over and the trialist crossed again soon afterwards to send out a message to coach Jon Sharp with his second brace in as many pre-season games.

Hunslet conceded back-to-back penalties - after a couple of flare-ups - and were punished when Johnson crossed from close-range and landed his fourth goal.

He added a fifth to complete the scoring after Briscoe pounced on a loose ball and raced clear from inside Rovers’ half.