Catalans Dragons v Featherstone Rovers: Adam Cuthbertson out to spark another Challenge Cup upset

THE odds will be stacked against Featherstone Rovers in the south of France today, but their player/assistant-coach Adam Cuthbertson knows better than most when it comes to the Challenge Cup – upsets do happen.

Cuthbertson won the trophy twice with Leeds Rhinos, his last game for the club being the 2020 final against Salford Red Devils.

But the previous year he was a member of the Leeds team dumped out of the competition by Championship neighbours Bradford Bulls on one of his former club’s darkest days.

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The boot will be on the other foot today when Rovers, who are top of the second-tier, visit last year’s Super League leaders and beaten Grand Finalists Catalans Dragons for a sixth-round tie.

Adam Cuthbertson: Enjoying his first season as a Featherstone Rovers player. (Picture: SWPix.com)

The French side have lost just once this season, to St Helens in their opening game, but Rovers are unbeaten in 2022 and, despite being held to a draw at Batley Bulldogs last week, Cuthbertson believes they will cause Catalans problems.

“We have got the firepower when we’ve got our full one-17,” said the Australian forward who joined Rovers in January after spending last season at York City Knights.

“We’ve got the likes of Joey Leilua back this week, but with the players we’ve got – and us wanting to react to last weekend – it definitely puts us in a position where we can go and challenge a Super League team.”

Cuthbertson added: “We have got a bit of confidence from the beginning of the year, when we came up against Wakefield and managed to get a victory.

Catalans Dragons playing at Leeds Rhinos earlier this season (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe)

“It was a trial, but it still helps to show we can beat a Super League team and they have proven to be no easy-beats this year, with their results over the last couple of weeks.

“There are signs and a true belief within the squad that if we go over there and get it right, anything can happen. That’s the magic of the Challenge Cup.

“I have been on the harsher end of it, from Bradford when we came up against them in 2018, so anything is possible.

“That puts into perspective what the Challenge Cup brings to the game.”

Rovers’ ultimate goal is to be playing Super League teams every week next season.

They are top of the Championship and securing promotion is the priority, but Cuthbertson reckons today’s tie will provide an indication of how close they are to being an elite-level side.

“It’s an opportunity for us in terms of getting a true gauge of where we’re at as a squad,” he said.

“It will be a good change of scenery and the Challenge Cup always throws challenges at you. That’s what’s so exciting.

“The boys are looking forward to getting over there and seeing what we can do against a good team.”

Catalans are without Mitchell Pearce who was suspended for two matches over a dangerous throw in last week’s defeat of Hull KR.

Samisoni Langi and Michael McIlorum drop out, with Matthieu Laguerre, Corentin Le Cam, Cesar Rouge and Romain Franco being drafted into the squad.