View from the pitch: Seaside tonic would give us full set of cups

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SUNDAY will be a massive day for Featherstone Rovers. It’s the first time the club has reached a Northern Rail Cup final and it is a chance to complete the full set of trophies we can realistically win.

We have had a fantastic couple of years, we’ve finished top of the league twice and won the Grand Final last season and a victory on Sunday would be the icing on the cake.

I think it would be a great achievement for everybody involved, the staff, players and especially our coach, Daryl Powell.

Daryl arrived at the club at the same time as I did, at the start of the 2009 season and from what people who were here before have told me, he has completely changed things around.

The professionalism has gone up to another level and in a lot of ways the playing side of things is run like a Super League club now.

Daryl’s passion for the club and the game really shines through, he has instilled a great work ethic and has been a massive part of what has been achieved.

I work for Rovers in the community, coaching in schools and generally promoting the club, so I know what a win this weekend would mean to Featherstone.

It is not a big place, but we have good support which is growing. I know it would mean the world to them to go to Blackpool and bring the trophy back.

We want to do it for ourselves, but we want to win for the fans just as much. Both teams, us and Halifax, are used to big occasions now, we have been in the last two Championship Grand Finals and Halifax were Grand Final winners a couple of years ago and runners-up in this competition last season.

I think most people would agree it is the two best teams outside Super League on current form and I think everything points to a really good game and a great occasion.

It’s a bit different to the Grand Final. This competition has been going since February, but it’s not the last game of the year; we are back in league action the week after so it’s important to make sure you are in good form going into it and you maintain that afterwards.

I think we can be pretty happy with our form, since the blip we had around Challenge Cup time. We probably took our eye off the ball a bit and we were inconsistent for a while, but we’ve won 10 on the spin now and there’s been some tough games in there.

We’ve beaten Halifax and Leigh during that run and we had a really tough game against Batley last week, so we are battled-hardened, we all know our jobs and what’s required of us to get the result on Sunday.

I have played at Bloomfield Road before, in 2005 when I was at St Helens. Blackpool had just got back into the league and we played them in a friendly.

I had a look around the stadium again the other day and it’s very impressive. Hopefully there will be a big crowd on Sunday and I think the atmosphere will be electric.

It’s great that the final’s in Blackpool. It gives the fans something to look forward to and it’s a chance to have a good weekend, culminating in a game of rugby – and hopefully a chance to see us lifting some silverware.

Jon Sharp

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