Toulouse Olympique v Featherstone Rovers - Brett Ferres confident of cranking up pressure on favourites

In the eyes of Featherstone Rovers’ Brett Ferres, all the pressure is on Toulouse Olympique in tomorrow evening’s Million Pound Game – and the ‘underdogs’ are ready to see if they can handle it.

The former England second-row is one of the experienced players Featherstone coach James Webster will look towards to help lead them to promotion when the Championship rivals meet at Stade Ernest Wallon.

League leaders Toulouse, unbeaten all season, remain favourites to emerge victorious but, whatever happens, there will be a new name in Super League in 2022.

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Nevertheless, if anyone deserves to make that lucrative step up, few could argue against Featherstone’s case.

They have been one of the Championship’s most consistent teams for the last decade, finishing top every season from 2010 to 2013 when there was no promotion and winning the Grand Final in 2011 as well as losing the Million Pound Game in Toronto just two years ago.

However, big-spending Toulouse are intent on becoming the second French club in Super League with Catalans Dragons.

Asked what part-timers Featherstone need to do to get over them, Ferres told The Yorkshire Post: “I think worry about ourselves. Everyone else is worrying about Toulouse and how good they are.

“They are a full-time team, us having to go over to France, playing a final there: everything is made for them.

Brett Ferres, in action during last week's semi-final win over Halifax Panthers. Picture: Dec Hayes.

“It’s up to us to go there and spoil the party really. Whatever we do, and how we see that, and whatever gameplan we come up with, we need to stick to it and go there and do that.”

Ferres, who won the 2017 Super League Grand Final at Leeds Rhinos alongside Toulouse’s Australian prop Mitch Garbutt, believes there is more pressure on Sylvain Houles’s side who inflicted Featherstone’s only league defeat when beating them 23-6 at Post Office Road.

He added: “I’ll throw all the pressure on them. They are the home team, they’ve a final in their own backyard and they are expected to go up and are probably wanted to go up by everyone else. Yes, all the pressure is on them: 100 per cent. They’ve not been beaten.

“They train everyday. They’ve it all going for them. We’re a little mining village like everyone says.

BRING IT ON: Featherstone's Brett Ferres & Paul March celebrate after their side's victory over York City Knights in the 1895 Cup Final at Wembley in July. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

“We’re working-class people who work hard. That’s what it’s all about. We’ll go there, work hard and see how they deal with it.”

As much as Rovers are traditionally referred to as a “little mining village”, they are not short of big-hitters, too.

It is what makes it such a fascinating tie.

Samoa stand-off Nu Brown has been a revelation since joining from the NRL, ex-Hull KR duo Kris Welham and Craig Hall bring bags of class to the backline and up front they have internationals like Ferres and Craig Kopczak, plus no-nonsense characters such as John Davies and captain James Lockwood.

LEADING MAN: Featherstone Rovers' captain James Lockwood Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com J

Ferres, 35, said: “We’ve had a good year. We’ve some really good pros who’ve played a lot of Super League and international football and some really good Championship players who have been part-time for a long time and know how to play in this division as it is very different.

“We’ll be quietly confident; it’ll be about us and what we do.

“We won’t be worrying about them too much. We’ve had a week’s prep’ and we’ve been building for a while for this and we’re looking forward to it.”

Featherstone swept past Halifax 42-10 in their semi-final a week ago and, like Ferres, chief executive Martin Vickers is relishing the chance to finally reach Super League in France.

He said: “Forget the Million Pound Game – there’s two million pounds on this.

“Don’t forget our distributions will go down if we’re in the Championship next year.

BIG THREAT: Toulouse's Mitch Garbutt is evidence of the quality the unbeaten French team has in its ranks. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

“Featherstone will make half a million pounds just on increased attendances next year. We’d probably make another half a million just on beer money. It’s a massive game for the club.

“I really hope we can get there as ever since I’ve been here I’ve just seen a Super League club.”

Meanwhile, Featherstone Rovers Ladies are also in action tomorrow when they face Huddersfield Giants Women in the Super League Shield Final.