Win will seal top spot for rejuvenated Featherstone

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FEATHERSTONE ROVERS will secure top spot on the Kingstone Press Championship Shield table – with two games still to play – if they beat second-placed visitors Dewsbury Rams tomorrow (3pm).

And they will go into the game in buoyant mood following Monday’s incredible last-gasp 28-26 win over Batley Bulldogs, which came after they had trailed 26-6 with just six minutes remaining.

Coach Jon Sharp admitted Rovers were the “second-best team”, but said their ability to win from a seemingly impossible position has boosted confidence among the squad.

“It’s an 80-minute game and we played for the 80 minutes,” he said.

“We played right to the very end, as we have been doing for the last few weeks.

“Fitness levels have improved, we are getting some energy into them and there’s a bit of steel about them, which is a good sign for us.”

Rams – whose win at Big Fellas Stadium earlier in the year ended Andy Hay’s stint as Rovers coach – are three points behind with three games left.

“It is a big test for us, especially on a quick turnaround,” Sharp said. “We are down to the bare bones, we’ve got 16 fit players – Steve Snitch should not have played on Monday.

“We’ve hardly practiced this week, we’ve just been trying to preserve energy for Sunday, but the young players who have come in have done really well.

“The four wins out of four in the Shield have been based around what the youngsters are doing, they have brought energy and enthusiasm to the team.”

Rams coach Glenn Morrison is more concerned with building form for the semi-final – and possibly final – than trying to snatch top spot.

“We want to go there and win, but we just need to keep some momentum going,” Morrison said.

“We might play them in the final and sometimes it is good to get a psychological advantage over a team, if you could play them again.”

Rams’ reserves beat Rovers’ second string in midweek to reach their Grand Final and Morrison said reckons illustrates the depth in his squad.

“We have got two teams who are both playing well,” he said.

Alex Walmsley in action against Papua New Guinea.

Walmsley aiming to put Dewsbury ‘on the map’