Featherstone Rovers and Dewsbury Rams look to step up pace

John Duffy
John Duffy
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FEATHERSTONE ROVERS and Dewsbury Rams will both be looking to pick up the pace tomorrow with just three weeks remaining until the Betfred Championship kicks off.

Rovers won 32-16 at Castleford Tigers on Boxing Day, but boss John Duffy wants a better performance at home to Halifax (3pm) in a rehearsal for the opening league game on February 4. He said: “We were all right against Cas, there was lots to work on and we’ve been doing that the last few weeks.

Neil Kelly

Neil Kelly

“There were bits and glimpses of combinations against Cas, but nobody’s really ready for a game on Boxing Day because it is still early in pre-season. We’ve been working on partnerships and getting a bit of cohesion, but for me as a coach it is more about our defensive performance.

“We were way off against Cas so defence is what I am looking for. With the players we’ve got in our backline we’re always going to have a bit of flair, but it’s the other side of the game I want to see more of this week.”

Rovers returned on Thursday from a five-day training camp in Alicante, Spain and Duffy is keen to see what they worked on put into practice.

“It went really well, we got everything we needed from it,” he said. “With us being part-time we only spend a couple of hours together every other night so it was good to get to spend a bit of time together and we can’t wait to get out on the pitch.”

We’ve been working on partnerships and getting a bit of cohesion, but for me as a coach it is more about our defensive performance.

Featherstone coach, John Duffy

Rams visit Betfred Super League neighbours Huddersfield Giants tomorrow (3pm). The fixture is a testimonial for Giants’ former England centre Leroy Cudjoe and Dewsbury coach Neil Kelly is looking forward to his men being tested by high-quality opponents.

He said. “I’ve got 21-22 players available and they are all going to play. Obviously the result would be fantastic, but I am more looking for a team performance and for people to put their hands up against good opposition.”

Rams’ face Sheffield Eagles in their Championship opener in 20 days’ time and Kelly said places in that team are up for grabs. “We are getting to the serious time of the year for selection,” he added. “I want players to stand up and be counted, so it is an important fixture for the players.”