FEATHERSTONE ROVERS’ players have been urged to cancel their holiday plans and put in some hard graft with new coach John Duffy instead.
Duffy – a Scotland international who played as a half-back for clubs including Leigh, Salford and Widnes – will take charge for the first time when Rovers visit Toulouse Olympique on Saturday.
That is their final game of the regular Kingstone Press Championship season and they then have a two-week break before beginning in the Qualifiers.
Rovers’ playing squad are planning to make the most of the time without a game, but chairman Mark Campbell reckons they would be better off getting to know Duffy and preparing for the middle-eights.
Duffy, 37, has been brought in from Swinton Lions to replace Jon Sharp who was sacked on Monday, the day after a 28-8 home loss to Halifax.
Campbell said: “We could have done with him a bit earlier in terms of preparing for the Qualifiers.
“It’s a bit disappointing the players are going on holiday as we could have done with that time.
“I’d like to think the players might change their mind.
“It’s a massive opportunity, the Qualifiers. You don’t get those opportunities every year.”
Rovers are third in the Championship and climbed the table in each of Sharp’s three seasons in charge, but Campbell felt they should have been one place higher this term and condemned their style of play as poor to watch.
“This year’s target was the top two,” he said.
“With everything else, I thought that was realistic.
“I think we’ll now see a brand of rugby which will excite people.
“This is the best squad I’ve had in 10 years, but it’s the worst team to watch.
“I haven’t enjoyed watching us.
“It [Rovers’ style of play] wasn’t an overriding factor for the decision, nor was the Halifax defeat; it wasn’t one specific thing, I just couldn’t see us progressing any further.
“This season was all about preparing for the qualifiers and I haven’t seen a lot of preparation.
“To find out the players are going on holiday when there’s two weeks before the eights kind of backs that up.
“John’s meeting the players [today], he’ll spend all weekend with them and I’m sure he’ll discuss what the plans are.”
Swinton are second from bottom in the Championship with five wins from 22 games.
But they knocked Super League club Huddersfield Giants out of the Challenge Cup and Campbell reckons they are a better team to watch than league results suggest.
He added: “I just feel as though we’ve got strike players. We’ve got quality half-backs and a great pack and though we haven’t got the best out of them, seeing the way John’s Swinton play and how they’ve attacked – they’re the best attacking team in competition, especially in the final third – if they can put that in we’re in for some exciting times.”