York City Knights v Featherstone Rovers: Sene-Lefao hails 'special' signing Joey Leilua

After a series of near-misses, including back-to-back defeats in the million pound promotion match, new signing Jesse Sene-Lefao reckons this is Featherstone Rovers’ year at last.

By Peter Smith
Sunday, 30th January 2022, 2:18 pm
Updated Sunday, 30th January 2022, 2:22 pm
Jesse Sene-Lefao on the ball for Featherstone against Leeds. Picture by Tony Johnson.
Jesse Sene-Lefao on the ball for Featherstone against Leeds. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Rovers kick off their Betfred Championship campaign away to York City Knights tonight and are expected to slug it out with Leigh Centurions for a place in Super League next season.

Sene-Lefao is a key part of the jigsaw.

He will add size, power and experience to Rovers’ pack following his move from top-flight neighbours Castleford Tigers and believes their long wait is finally coming to an end.

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Featherstone beat a strong Wakefield Trinity side in their final practice game and the Samoan forward insisted: “Our vision is strong and that’s what really counts.

“Everyone in our team is trying to do their best and get better every day to make that vision real.

“That’s what’s so cool about coming in every day.

“We start against York and I can’t wait to get out there with the boys and finally get the season started.”

Rovers have made a series of high-profile signings since losing to Toulouse Olympique in last year’s Championship Grand Final, but Joey Leilua - a two-time NRL centre of the year, recruited from Wests Tigers - is arguably one of the biggest names to join an English lower division club.

“He is special,” Sene-Lefao said of his new teammate, who will make his debut this evening.

“He is a big name in the NRL and across the world.

“He is full of energy and he has come over here to make an impact.

“I can’t wait to see him play.”

Sene-Lefao is also set to make his first competitive appearance for Rovers along with former Leeds Rhinos forward Adam Cuthbertson, who joined them from York last week and full-back/stand-off Brandon Pickersgill, signed from Bradford Bulls.

Featherstone Rovers (at York): from Pickersgill, Briscoe, Leilua, Hall, Gale, Holmes, Jones, Lockwood, Sene-Lefao, Bussey, Wildie, Davies, Moors, Hellewell, Hardcastle, Field, Smith, Cooper, Trout, Gill, Cuthbertson.

Referee: Jack Smith (Warrington).

Kick-off: Tonight, 7.45pm.