Featherstone Rovers v Batley Bulldogs - Host coach James Webster calls for disciplined dispay
FEATHERSTONE ROVERS boss James Webster is expecting a “disciplined, good performance” from his side in today’s Betfred Championship opener at home to Batley Bulldogs (7.30pm)
Rovers will be without ex-Leeds Rhinos forward Brett Ferres who is serving a 10-day suspension imposed by the Rugby Football League (RFL) for an alleged breach of coronavirus regulations.
Players and others from the club are alleged to have socialised indoors at Rovers’ Millennium Stadium, Post Office Road, following last Saturday’s Betfred Challenge Cup win over Batley. The RFL says Ferres is the only player to have been identified so far, but an investigation is continuing.
That is far from ideal on the eve of what Rovers hope will be a promotion-winning campaign, but Webster insisted: “I will be expecting a disciplined, good performance and for off-field situations not to affect what we do on the pitch.”
Webster added he is leaving the matter to “the powers that be” to sort out and is focused fully on avoiding a repeat of last week’s scare. Rovers won 30-22, but the coach admitted: “You could say, at stages, Batley deserved to win. They came here and were committed and well-coached, they stuck to what they wanted to do and did it for a lot longer than us.
“We understand it’s going to be another really tough game. Batley have always been a really hardworking team and I think the coach has added a bit of nous to the way they play.”
This will be the side’s third meeting in less than a month after a pre-season game and last week’s tie, but Webster stressed: “This is the start of the real stuff.
“I don’t want to downplay the Cup, but every Championship team’s main ambition is the league, either to stay in it or try to win it and get promoted, and we are no different.”
Bulldogs coach Craig Lingard said: “For our guys to come into [last week’s] game with eight players out and push them for around 67 minutes, it should give us a massive amount of confidence.
“It was pleasing for me that after the game my players were disappointed with themselves rather than pleased they pushed a team like Featherstone so far. It shows we have got that competitive edge and desire to win.”
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