Featherstone Rovers' Scott Wheeldon keeping his feet firmly on ground
FORMER SUPER League forward Scott Wheeldon admits it is a relief to be back to winning ways, but insists Featherstone Rovers are not focusing on the Betfred Championship table.
Rovers ended a run of four defeats – three in the league and a Ladbrokes Challenge Cup tie – by winning 42-18 at Dewsbury Rams two days ago.
With Halifax and London Broncos, who began round 16 above them on the table, both losing, Rovers climbed two places to third.
The top-four after 23 rounds will go through to the Qualifiers, against Betfred Super League’s bottom quartet.
The game at Tetley’s Stadium was a big one for Rovers and Wheeldon felt their positive start, opening the scoring after five minutes and leading 24-0 at the break, laid the foundation for a priceless victory.
“It’s been quite a while since we last won a game,” reflected the former Hull, Hull KR, London Broncos and Castleford Tigers pack man.
“Performances have slipped a bit, but they haven’t been too far off. There were a few things we tried to fix up [last Sunday] and we got a really good start to the game, which we hadn’t done for the last few weeks.
“I think that’s what has let us down the most, especially against the calibre of sides we were playing against. Dewsbury are a very difficult side to beat at home.
“Getting a good start was massive for us, we did that and it got us on the front foot.”
Wheeldon felt patience also paid off. He added: “We spoke about completing our sets and not panicking.
“The last few weeks we’ve been trying to find a big play or do something out of the ordinary to try and win the game, when it’s not always needed. Just build a bit of pressure and get yourselves into the game.”
Rovers are only two points ahead of London and Leigh Centurions, so a top-four finish is far from guaranteed.
“We’ve tried to just look after our performances and not concentrate too much on looking at where we are on the table,” said Wheeldon. “That will look after itself, but obviously we did slip out of that [top-four] and that was a little bit on people’s minds. We’ve done a good job to get ourselves back in and from now on it’s just head down and perform and it will look after itself.”
Rovers were rocked before the Rams game by the news Tom Holmes has ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament. He will undergo a knee reconstruction and not play again this season. His half-back partner Martyn Ridyard is also sidelined, by a shoulder problem.
But Misi Taulapapa returned from suspension and Jason Walton made his comeback following long-term injury. Wheldon said: “They were a big boost to us. We’ve had a couple of losses – especially our half-backs – over the last couple of weeks, which hasn’t been great, but we’ve got people like Anthony Thackeray and Matty Wildie who’ve played plenty of games at half-back in the past. I’m sure they’ll just slot straight back in and be great for us.”