SURPRISE PACKAGE Featherstone Rovers can still grab a place in the million pound game, front-rower Jordan Baldwinson says.
Rovers finished fourth in the Kingstone Press Championship and were hammered 62-6 by Leeds Rhinos in their opening First Utility Qualifiers fixture.
The top three in the Qualifiers table after seven games will secure a place in Super League for 2017, with the fourth-placed side at home to the team finishing fifth in a one-off shootout for the remaining spot.
“Last year Bradford only won three games and they were in the million pound game,” Baldwinson pointed out.
“It is absolutely do-able. For periods of [Saturday’s] game I thought we showed real spirit and courage and we did stick with them.
“I just think in the end fitness took its toll and the likes of Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow, with their experience, really showed why they have been at the top for so long.”
Rovers trailed Leeds only 18-6 at the break and Baldwinson insisted they will learn from the experience going into Sunday’s game at Huddersfield Giants.
“It was a massive learning curve for the likes of me and Luke Briscoe, playing against our team-mates,” said the 21-year-old, who is on loan at Featherstone from Rhinos.
“Leeds – with that team and the way they played – should not be in the bottom four. They were outstanding and full credit to them.
“We are going to learn a lot from it and we will bounce back for this week.
“There were periods when we did give Leeds a good game and we were in the competition with them, but obviously they have got a lot of very good individual players who can change the game just by a kick of the ball or an off-load.
“It was great to play against the likes of Keith Galloway. Think of the number of NRL games he’s played and I have come up against him.
“I am quite close to a few of their boys and it was great to get an opportunity to play against them.
“We will take it in our stride, learn from it and move on for this weekend.”
Off the field Rovers were boosted by a summer-era record crowd of 6,661 and Baldwinson said: “It was outstanding. Leeds always have a great following and we knew they’d bring a lot of fans.
“Games like that only do wonders for a club like Featherstone.
“They are not well off financially, we need as many fans as possible and for 6,000 people to come and watch, as well as it being on Sky, that is a once in a career thing for some of our boys.”