Featherstone Rovers: We must be ‘hard-nosed’ against Leigh admits coach Sharp

Jon Sharp.

Jon Sharp.

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FEATHERSTONE ROVERS will be up against Super League-standard opposition when they play host to Leigh Centurions in the First Utility Qualifiers tomorrow (3pm), coach Jon Sharp reckons.

Leigh topped the Kingstone Press Championship table and have won their opening two games in the middle-eights – including a home success against Super League side Salford Red Devils last week.

That has put them on track for an automatic promotion place and Sharp described tomorrow’s visitors as looking like “a Super League team in waiting”.

Rovers gave a good account of themselves in the regular season, losing the home game 30-24 and being pipped 16-12 at Leigh Sports Village, but Sharp admitted his injury-hit side have a huge task on their hands.

“We have to be pleased with how we’ve played against them, but their team has changed with heavy recruitment recently and our team will be different this weekend because of injuries,” Sharp said.

“They’ve got some really good players, top-notch Super League players and internationals in their ranks.

“We need to show a bit more of a hard-nosed attitude and we’ve got to be a bit more patient.”

Rovers – who will be without Andy Bostock for the rest of the season due to a knee injury – have learned some painful lessons in their opening two Qualifiers, losing 62-6 to Leeds Rhinos and 62-16 against Huddersfield Giants.

“It has been a fantastic season for us, but I’m disappointed with how we’ve played in the last two games because I think we are better than that,” Sharp added. “At Huddersfield, there were too many errors early on and we didn’t build enough pressure.

“We didn’t learn enough lessons from the previous week’s game against Leeds. Some individuals came up with similar sort of errors.

“I thought we played better and looked like we had learned lessons in certain areas, but clearly not enough. It was frustrating because I thought we looked dangerous when we’d got the ball. We just didn’t keep it long enough.

“When we did complete and we kicked well, we scored tries. We were up against a team that a few years ago won the League Leaders’ Shield so they are no mugs, but we made it harder for ourselves.”

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