AFTER MORE than a month on the sidelines, ball-player Anthony Thackeray has made a welcome return for Featherstone Rovers.
Thackeray had scored four tries in five appearances before suffering a dislocated elbow in Rovers’ Betfred Championship win at Leigh Centurions on March 4.
He returned in the 26-16 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup fifth-round victory at Doncaster two days ago and confirmed he came through unscathed, though he admitted it will take him a while to get back to his best.
“You can do all the training you want, but nothing compares to match fitness and game speed,” he conceded.
“I was a bit rusty in patches, but we’ll get there.”
Thackeray played at full-back against Doncaster, a role he has taken up since new half-backs Martyn Ridyard and Tom Holmes came into the club in the closed season.
It is obviously a specialised position and one I’m not used to, but coaches have been doing work with me and it is just a work in progress at the moment.Anthony Thackeray
“It’s good, it is a really good position,” he said of his new place in the team. “It is obviously a specialised position and one I’m not used to, but coaches have been doing work with me and it is just a work in progress at the moment.”
Being able to play in more than one position is a useful attribute, and Thackeray added: “Full-back is like an extra half-back now.
“It probably suits my game, but with being out of the team for a few weeks it is hard to get in the rhythm of it again. Obviously with more game time I’ll get better.”
Rovers, who are second in the Championship, were ‘below-par’ against Doncaster, trailing to the League One side for 27 minutes.
“Our standards weren’t good enough,” Thackeray admitted. “We had a couple of good patches, but overall we played pretty poor. We have got some areas to fix up and work on.”
Rovers were hot favourites, but Thackeray insisted they weren’t shocked by how well the League One leaders played.
“They are going well,” he said. “We spoke about it in the week. We said we can’t expect, just because they are League One, they are going to roll over. They showed that, they had a real dig.
“They are well coached and they’ve got some really good players in the squad as well.”