Featherstone Rovers Women v Leeds Rhinos Women: Rovers captain Andrea Dobson to miss Rhinos clash

Featherstone Rovers will be without captain Andrea Dobson in today’s Women’s Super League derby with Leeds Rhinos.

Sunday, 2nd May 2021, 12:27 pm
Featherstone Rovers Women's Andrea Dobson, right, and Katherine Hepworth tackle Castleford Tigers' Rhiannon Marshall. Dobson will miss Rovers clash with Leeds today due to a head injury. Picture: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com.

The former England international picked up a head injury during the opening game of the season against Castleford.

Head coach Natalie Gilmour confirmed her absence saying: “She’ll miss this weekend with a head knock as part of the rules. We’re still under the community game regarding head injuries because we don’t have the head test. She’ll be missing this week but we’ve got other players that can stand in.”

Gilmour, who recently took over the coaching role at Featherstone, is looking ahead to a tough test against defending champions Leeds Rhinos.

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Two weeks ago, Rovers lost their opening game 40-6 against Castleford while Leeds thrashed York 68-16.

Gilmour said: “First two games against Castleford and Leeds – two best tests really. It’s a good test for the lasses.

“We’ve got a lot of new faces and had a short pre-season so it’ll be good to see where we stand. We can see what we need to work on to match the best.”

When looking back at the Castleford game, Gilmour added: “I think it was frustrating because we created more opportunities to score but a lack of composure and finishing skill left us wanting a little bit. I think if we would have taken those chances, the scoreline would have been closer or even different.”

Despite what the scoreline may suggest, Leeds were well tested by York in their season opener two weeks ago. Knights led for large parts of the first half and forced their opponents to pull out all the stops in defence.

However, the quality of Leeds eventually shone through as the Rhinos ran York ragged in the second half to secure an impressive win.

When asked whether Featherstone can take encouragement from York’s efforts, Gilmour said: “I watched the Leeds v York game and York gave a good battle. But then again, I think it came down to fitness as well.

“Fev lasses have worked really hard on their fitness and conditioning. I don’t see them backing down for the full 80 minutes.”

Gilmour only recently became the Featherstone head coach however, her high standards as a player are certainly still in place as a coach.

In spite of the challenges posed by the pandemic, she still expects continuous improvement from her side saying: “It’s been a bit of a short pre-season which obviously nobody really likes. But the girls have really gelled well together.

“They’re really committed and for me, it’s the attitude that I’m looking at. They really are grafting, putting the effort in at training, switched on, putting in a lot of effort. It’s exactly what I want as week in and week out, I want to see an improvement.”

Gilmour also shared her thoughts on the transition from playing to coaching saying: “I am enjoying it but at the same time, I hate it. It’s one of those things. Love it because I get to give something back to the game that has given me so much, but hate it because half of me wants to be back on the pitch.”