A RETURN to the Qualifiers is in the bag, but Featherstone Rovers boss Jon Sharp insists tomorrow’s visit of Halifax (3pm) is still a must-win game.
Rovers’ victory at Oldham last week ensured a top-four finish in the Kingstone Press Championship with two rounds still to play.
The situation on the table makes it a bigger game for fourth-placed Halifax who will join Rovers in the middle-eights if they win tomorrow, but Sharp stressed his team can’t afford to switch off.
“The pressure’s off mathematically,” he said. “We are in the four and we’re really pleased about that and pleased to be the first part-time team to do it back-to-back.
“It’s something we are really proud of, but we don’t want to sit back – we want to keep going. It is important we hit a bit of form going into the middle-eights and we have a winning mentality.”
Rovers, who are third, sit a point behind London Broncos and Sharp insisted they haven’t given up hope of climbing the ladder. Moving up one place would earn Rovers four home games in the eights and Sharp stressed: “We want to try and finish second. We have got to put London under spressure by winning and doing a job on Halifax, then we’ll be hoping either Rochdale or Batley do us a favour by beating London.”
“It is also important we send the fans away in high spirits with it being our last home game [in the regular season].”
Rovers, who have confirmed the signing of ex-Widnes Vikings prop Sam Brooks on a deal until the end of the season, have beaten Halifax in the league and Challenge Cup this year, but the visitors are on a high after a win at Toulouse Olympique last week which lifted them above the French side – who visit leaders Hull KR tomorrow – in the table.
“Any team that can go to Toulouse and beat them, in those conditions, is a good team,” said Sharp, whose side cross the Channel next week.
“We always expect a tough game against Halifax and we know they will be desperate.
“They have got a lot to play for and it is very much about us being ready for that. We have got to match their enthusiasm and determination and not just match it, but better it. We don’t want them to out-enthuse us, irrespective of what the teams are playing for.”