Featherstone Rovers’ Brett Ferres says the squad still have Million Pound Game regrets
The West Yorkshire club’s hopes of securing promotion to Super League were ended for a second time in three years when they lost last month’s decider against Toulouse Olympique.
Featherstone remain intent on finally joining the elite for a first time – they have hired ex-Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott to try and get them up in 2022 – but veteran second-row Ferres concedes the 34-12 loss in France remains painful.
“A lot of the boys are still disappointed,” he said, Rovers having also lost to Toronto Wolfpack in the 2019 Championship finale.
“I think there’s a few who probably thought that they didn’t show up at the right time for us.
“They have been great all year but maybe with what the game held and what we could have got out of it, we probably didn’t turn up and put our best foot forward.
“We got blown away in the first 20 minutes by a very good team and unfortunately couldn’t claw it back.
“We’re still disappointed with it but I think over the last three years – with Covid in between – we have learned some big lessons now from some big games and hopefully now we can take it one step further in 2022.”
There is significant squad re-shaping going on in readiness for that with a dozen players having departed and the likes of Leeds winger Luke Briscoe, Bradford Bulls full-back Brandon Pickersgill and York City Knights loose forward Morgan Smith coming in along with Ben Hellewell and Matty Wildie who return after time with Leigh Centurions in Super League.
And Ferres, 35, knows all about McDermott having won the 2017 Grand Final under him at Leeds.
He said: “He’s a proven winner isn’t he? He won numerous Grand Finals at Leeds plus Challenge Cups and big games – so for us, where we’ve been and the philosophy we do need to win some big games to secure promotion, he’s going to bring that in.
“His man-management and how he is as a person as well and what he’ll bring out of this group is really important for us.”
Meanwhile, England coach Shaun Wane will have extra time to prepare his side for the start of the World Cup in 2022 after Super League chiefs agreed to end the domestic season on September 24.
Officials have confirmed that will be the date of the Grand Final at Old Trafford, three weeks before England are due to kick off the World Cup.
This year the final was held on October 9, just two weeks before the scheduled start of the World Cup.
A postponement has given organisers the chance to build in a longer lead-in time but it is likely to mean another congested domestic programme.
The Super League fixtures are due out on November 25 and the season is expected to start on Thursday, February 10.
Grand Final tickets will go on sale on Monday, with a 25 per cent early bird discount available for adults.
Championship club Halifax have signed Wakefield centre Joe Arundel.
The 30-year-old burst onto the Super League scene with Castleford in 2009 and also had a spell with Hull before joining Trinity, for whom he played over 100 games.
Halifax coach Simon Grix said: “Joe has made the decision to pursue part-time rugby and we are fortunate to have acquired his services.
“He is a big body and will prove a handful on the edge in both attack and defence. His experience will prove invaluable to our younger outside backs.”