Milford Marlins v Leigh Miners Rangers: Marlins are hoping to go one step further

Milford Marlins face Leigh Miners Rangers.
Milford Marlins face Leigh Miners Rangers.
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MILFORD MARLINS are in a better position to claim promotion now than when they missed out a year ago, according to their coach Gavin Brown.

Marlins face Leigh Miners Rangers in the National Conference Division One promotion final at Featherstone Rovers’ LD Nutrition Stadium today (12.05pm).

They were beaten by Normanton Knights at the same stage last season, but Brown reckons lessons learned that day will stand them in good stead.

“Obviously we have got that experience and we want to go one better,” he said.

“I’d like to think we’ve learned from it.

“This season we finished one place lower – we were fourth last year and fifth this season.

“That meant we had an away semi-final, but there’s a bit of momentum going into this game and 12 months ago we didn’t particularly have that.

“We’re hoping that will be the difference this time.”

Milford were champions of the then-National League in 1987-88, but have not figured in the top-flight since being relegated in 1989-90.

“Promotion is what we’ve been aiming for for the last three years, since I have been involved,” said Brown, who played seven Super League games for Leeds Rhinos in 1996 and 1997.

“From the club’s perspective it would mean everything to be promoted and it would be a massive challenge.

“Normanton who went up last year have come straight back down, but it’s something the club needs in terms of where we should be.”

Miners, relegated last year, will be favourites having finished third in the league and beaten Milford twice.

“We will have it all on to beat them,” Brown admitted. “How they didn’t go up in second is remarkable, they needed to win one of their last five and could not manage it for whatever reason. They will certainly be favourites, but we are optimistic with regards to what we can do.”

Brown has spent the past two days on a coast-to-coast charity cycle ride. He will break off to take charge of the team today before returning to the saddle tomorrow. The promotion decider will be staged as a curtain-raiser to the Premier Division Grand Final between Hunslet Club Parkside and West Hull.