FEATHERSTONE ROVERS will be without one of their most influential players of the past two seasons when they square up to Oldham tomorrow (3pm) – and coach Jon Sharp is delighted.
Jordan Baldwinson, the Kingstone Press Championship’s young player of the year in 2015 and a nominee for the same award last term, has been pulled out of Rovers’ squad after featuring for Leeds Rhinos in their Betfred Super League opener at St Helens two days ago.
The 22-year-old prop was a dual-registration player for Rovers in last Sunday’s win at Halifax, but Sharp insisted: “I am pleased about that [Baldwinson’s Leeds call-up].
“It shows I am doing my job and it shows they believe in him and have seen him develop here.
“He played extremely well against Halifax. The Leeds staff were there and he has been rewarded.
“That’s how it should work.”
Sharp insisted having players recalled from dual-registration – or offered by Leeds – is not a major disruption to Rovers.
He said: “Because we’ve been doing it for 12 months we are pretty smooth with how we handle things and do these things.
“If things happen they are explained to the players so they are up to speed and there’s a right reason for these decisions.
“The players know the situation and my players know if they perform they will retain their spot.”
Tomorrow is Rovers’ first home game of the Championship season and Sharp is looking for some improvements on last week’s 32-26 win at Halifax.
“If there were any negatives, they were that we spilled the ball too often and we gave a couple of soft penalties away which helped them out of their end,” Sharp reflected.
“We have got to tidy that up. They are a big, aggressive team who look like they know what they are doing and I think it will be a really tough challenge.”
Sharp admitted home form is crucial for Rovers. He added: “In 2015, Featherstone won four out of 11 at home, last year it was nine out of 11 and that went a long way to securing a top-four spot.
“We want to make it a fortress and a tough, intimidating place for anyone to come to.”