Featherstone v Leeds Rhinos: Briscoes’ parents in a win, win situation

Brothers Luke Briscoe and Tom Briscoe.
Brothers Luke Briscoe and Tom Briscoe.
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THE ELDER Briscoe brother is hoping to disappoint his dad this afternoon.

Siblings Tom and Luke Briscoe will be on opposing sides for the first time when Leeds Rhinos visit Featherstone Rovers – the brothers’ hometown club – in the opening round of the First Utility Qualifiers.

Luke, 22, is on loan at Rovers from Leeds and Tom, who is four years older, reckons their dad will be supporting the home team.

“Obviously being from Fev, I think he’d like to see Fev win and, more importantly, get into Super League,” said the Leeds winger, whose return to fitness has made his brother surplus to requirements in Rhinos’ squad.

“That would be great for the club and the town.

“He’s a massive rugby fan, he’ll be happy we’re both playing – and he can enjoy whoever wins!”

Today’s game is a massive occasion for the Briscoe family and Tom added: “I think both mum and dad will just be happy for us both to be playing.

“I would imagine they’d be wanting Fev to win, but they are in a win-win situation; one of us will be coming out on top so they’ll be happy.”

Tom, who reckons his mum’s only pre-game advice will be “take it easy”, will be playing at Big Fellas Stadium for the first time in his professional playing career.

He played for amateur club Featherstone Lions, but revealed the town’s senior side was never on his radar.

“From amateur at 16 I went straight to Hull and never got a chance to play for Featherstone,” he recalled.

“And from where we were in Super League at Hull and then going to Leeds, plus where Fev were in the Championship, it was never something I thought would happen.

“I think Leeds have played Rovers a few times in friendlies, but I’ve never played at Post Office Road since some cup finals in my amateur days and nothing in a competitive game like this weekend.”

The sibling connection adds some friendly rivalry and extra interest to today’s derby, but the action will be deadly serious once the first whistle blows.

Rhinos are fighting for their Super League lives, less than a year after winning the treble and defeat today would be a huge setback.

Leeds go into the middle-eights on a run of five wins from their final six Super League matches and are the top-ranked team in the competition, but Tom insists they are fully focused and have prepared as they would for a top-eights fixture.

“The way our season has gone has not been ideal and being in these Qualifiers is something I suppose was a bit unexpected for everyone involved,” he conceded.

“But we knew a few weeks ago we would be playing in them and we’ve have had a couple of weeks now to prepare for that.

“We had a weekend off last week to prolong the preparations for this seven-game series to secure our place back in Super League.

“I am excited, not only to be up against Luke, but also to be playing down here [at Featherstone].

“I’m a local lad and I did come to watch Featherstone as a young boy.

“The prospect of walking out at a packed stadium is exciting.”