WAKEFIELD Trinity Wildcats second-row Matt Ryan made a quick impression on his Featherstone Rovers debut to give Andy Hay’s side a hard-fought win at Doncaster.
The ex-Parramatta Eels forward only arrived at the club on dual-registration on Friday evening and scored the decisive touchdown in the 71st minute when the gritty Championship game had been level at 6-6.
Impressive full-back Jy Hitchcock, who had also set up Featherstone’s first try for Nathan Chappell at the start of the second period, came up with the telling pass as Doncaster’s strong defence was finally exposed once more.
“Matt Ryan did a good job for us,” said Rovers head coach Andy Hay, as they backed up an opening day win against Hunslet Hawks.
“He looked a little out of shape as he’s only played a couple of trial games with Wakefield.
“But he came up with the try in what was a really tough game.
“I didn’t really want to use the dual-reg as early as this but it’s something we probably had to with our overseas players not arriving and the injuries we’ve got.
“I won’t just do it for the sake of it, though, and now we move on to Bradford Bulls next week which we know will be another big challenge again.”
The hosts had taken an eighth minute lead via ex-Wakefield centre Danny Cowling but there was then no further scoring from either side until four minutes into the second half with defences firmly on top at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Featherstone’s Paul Sykes and Donny’s Stewart Sanderson then swapped penalties before Ryan came up with the killer blow with Sykes converting.
Rovers replacement Remy Marginet – the French trialist who gained extended minutes after an early injury to half-back Sam Irwin (dead leg) – made sure with a 76th minute drop goal.
Hay added: “I thought our middle was outstanding.
“Andy Bostock and Matt James did really well off the bench while for us to just concede one try from a kick is pleasing.”
Doncaster: Scott; Doherty, Mixhaels, Cowling, Sanderson; Cooke, Rankin; Carbutt, Cunningham, Paleaaeasina, Snitch, Dunn, Emmett. Subs: Spiers, Clark, Waterman, Howarth.
Featherstone Rovers: Hitchcock; Sharp, Chappell, Cording, Blackmore; Sykes, Irwin; Baldwinson, Ellis, Wood, Foster, Ryan, Lockwood. Subs: Spears, James, Bostock, Marginet.
Referee: Warren Turley (Leigh).