Championship: It's make or break time for Bulldogs and Rovers

FEATHERSTONE ROVERS and Batley Bulldogs face crunch games tomorrow in their bid for a place in the middle-eights.
Jon Sharp.Jon Sharp.
Jon Sharp.

Rovers will climb from sixth into the Kingstone Press Championship’s top-four if they win at third-placed Halifax and Batley – who are fourth – lose at home to London Broncos (both 3pm).

Featherstone coach Jon Sharp set his team a target of winning their final three games in the regular season and they got over the first hurdle with a 34-6 win at Batley last week.

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“That was like a quarter-final,” Sharp said. “This week is a semi-final and if we win that we will have a final the week after against Bradford.

“If we win the next two we will be on 30 points and I think that will be enough. Our destiny is in our own hands.”

Halifax have beaten Rovers twice already this year, by a point after a last-minute penalty at Big Fellas Stadium in April and 37-0 during the following month’s Summer Bash.

“When we played them at Blackpool we were awful,” Sharp admitted. “We will have to be at our best to give ourselves a chance this weekend.

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“They are a really good team who are in form and they need the points as well. There is a lot to play for.”

Batley know two more wins will secure their place in the Qualifiers, but they have no margin for error after last week’s heavy defeat.

“There’s no doubt if we play like we did last week we won’t beat London or Swinton,” coach John Kear said of his team’s final two games.

“We have got to up our game so we play ourselves into having an opportunity to beat London. The next couple of weekends are vital for us and we’re delighted to be in amongst it. At the start of the season if you had have told me we would be in fourth position with two games to play I’d have bitten your hand off. We are delighted where we are, but to round off the season we need to win these next two games.”

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London are already certain to finish second and Kear added: “I don’t know if their coach Andrew Henderson will rest a few bumps and bruises, but we have to to prepare as if they are going to be at their best.”

Bradford Bulls, who are fifth on level points with Featherstone, are at home to third-bottom Oldham.