Featherstone Rovers: Boss Sharp expects team to be better equipped at the Giants

Jon Sharp.
Jon Sharp.
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BOSS JON Sharp feels Featherstone Rovers will be better equipped when they head to Huddersfield Giants tomorrow (3pm) for their second Qualifiers fixture.

Rovers were hammered 62-6 by First Utility Super League outfit Leeds Rhinos a week ago, but Sharp reckons his players can put that painful experience to good use against another top-flight side. The Leeds game highlighted the difference between Super League and the Kingstone Press Championship and Sharp said: “There’s an element of wanting to build on what we did well and also lessons to be learned from what we didn’t do so well, so we can improve as quickly as possible. We probably could not have had a better game than Leeds because it gave us an indication where we are and what we need to improve on.”

Sharp admitted his players were “frustrated at how we played” last weekend. He added: “We didn’t reach the standards we are capable of, but we were still competitive for 40 minutes.”

Giants finished bottom of Super League and were beaten 34-12 at Salford Red Devils in their opening middle-eights match six days ago. Play-maker Danny Brough picked up a two-game ban for an incident in that fixture, but Sharp denied that makes Rovers’ task any easier.

“I think he is a fantastic player,” said the Featherstone boss. “He is an important part of their team, but it just gives someone else an opportunity to have a crack and stake a claim. We are going to face a motivated player trying to make an impression with the new coach.”

Giants have yet to win since Rick Stone took charge. Sharp said: “He has spoken about them being under pressure.

“You don’t know how a team are going to react under pressure, some handle it well and others don’t. It will be interesting to see how they handle it.”

Tomorrow will be a big day for Sharp, who is returning to the club he coached from 2003-2008.

“I really enjoyed my time there,” he said. “It was a special time for me and we had some success as well, a Challenge Cup final, fifth place finish and a Cup semi-final. It was a successful period and I think it helped give the club momentum towards the success they have had since.”

John Duffy.

Toulouse 32 Featherstone Rovers 26: John Duffy’s men edged out by last-gasp try from Minga