Jonny Hepworth - Sean Long has got me playing again

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Since Sean Long’s come in at Featherstone Rovers it’s given me a new lease of life.

I’d been struggling with form this season and had been played out of position all year.

But since he came in and Ian Hardman got injured, he’s put me back to full-back and created another pivot role.

I’m enjoying that and he’s got great knowledge being such an experienced international half-back.

People ask if he is as crazy as everyone says. I don’t know about that but he is a totally different coach to Daryl (Powell) and Shez (Ryan Sheridan). In a technical sense, he’s been brilliant for us and he’s a good bloke too.

He’s really approachable and you forget just what a great Super League legend we now have coaching us.

It’s great profile for the club and he’s been a really good addition for us. He’s a bit different to what we’ve had before and that’s good.

When it comes to what Longy’s done, he’s just tweaked things really. He’s not made massive changes or anything, just brought a few little things in and slightly adapted stuff.

We’ve got different lines of running now and we’ll try to keep improving and building now over these next few weeks as we start the play-offs tomorrow.

It was great to win the League Leaders’ Shield again at Hunslet last week. It was the result against Sheffield Eagles beforehand that really did it for us and got us up to first with just a game to go.

We’ve come from behind all year so to get that result against Sheffield, and the way we did it too, was just brilliant.

The game itself was a great advert for Championship rugby and the atmosphere at Fev was unbelievable, miles better than either of the times we had Super League sides – Castleford and Wigan in the Challenge Cup – down there last season.

It does make a difference having all that noise behind you and, with a crowd of nearly 4,000, it was great to hear the fans cheering us on in such a manner. The sound of it all when we scored was amazing.

We’ve made hard work for ourselves over the course of the season. This is no disrespect to Doncaster, Swinton and York but we should be beating sides like that. It meant we had to finish first the hard way but we got there in the end and now’s it’s vital we go on and complete the job.

Obviously, we’ve finished top four years running now and won just one of our three Grand Finals so far so people will ask questions of us.

But we’re all confident we can go on and win it this season. Obviously, last year was disappointing getting to the Grand Final but missing out to Sheffield like we did.

We know it’s going to be tough again as there’s not much between the top four or five teams in this division.

We play Leigh Centurions tomorrow who finished fourth.

They’ve a big, strong pack and have already tasted success this season having beaten Sheffield in the Northern Rail Cup final.

They knocked us out of that competition along the way but we’ve home advantage and, so, if we can keep playing like we have for these last five or six weeks we can progress onto the semi-finals.

I’m not sure what Longy has planned for the play-offs but I think his arrival has just meant we’ve put all that uncertainty and disruption surrounding Daryl and Shez to one side and cracked on.

He’s built us up further and, as a team, standards have kept rising. He wants us to keep improving each week and he’s done that since week one.

Interview by Dave Craven