IMPROVEMENT IN all areas is being demanded from Featherstone Rovers as they prepare for tomorrow’s visit of Kingstone Press Championship leaders Hull KR (3pm).
Featherstone’s hopes of a top-two finish – and four home games in the Qualifiers – suffered a severe setback last week when they were crushed 42-16 by London Broncos at the Summer Bash in Blackpool.
Coach Jon Sharp’s side have slipped to fourth in the table, six points adrift of Hull KR, behind Toulouse Olympique and London on points difference and two ahead of Halifax.
Toulouse, London, Featherstone and Halifax are battling for three places in the middle-eights – behind Hull KR – and Sharp admitted his side have to get straight back on the horse.
“Our all-round attitude, and aggression levels and determination need to be cranked right up,” Sharp conceded. “We came off second-best in everything we did last week.
“Going into the game, we had lost only three games all year – by a point to Rochdale, a game we should have won against Hull KR and when we were awful against Toulouse.
“We never saw it coming. We had won six out of six and preparation going into the game had been really good.
“They started really well and I thought their start affected us.
“We’ve had a quiet group of blokes this week, but they’ve been getting on with the job and we know it is a big one for us.”
Sharp said playing well is his priority against opponents who have lost just once in the league – at Toulouse with an under-strength team – this year.
“It’s very much about performance and getting back to the standards we have set,” Sharp stressed. “It is not acceptable playing the way we did last week and this is an opportunity for us. It is a really good game for us to come back in, against a really good side – a game that will certainly test us.”
A win would leave Featherstone four points behind Hull KR with seven games to play and Sharp insisted top spot isn’t out of reach. He said: “It’s never over until it’s over. If it is mathematically possible, we’ll never give in.”
Meanwhile, former Batley and Wakefield centre/second-row Jason Walton has signed a new contract which will keep him at Rovers until the end of 2019.