Widnes v Featherstone: Rovers told to engage brain before opting to switch gear

Featherstone coach, John Duffy. PIC: Tony Johnson
Featherstone coach, John Duffy. PIC: Tony Johnson
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FEATHERSTONE ROVERS will be in confident mood when they travel to Widnes Vikings tomorrow (3pm), but have been warned to avoid “brain explosions”.

Rovers picked up their first point in the Qualifiers – after seven defeats last year and a loss in round one this term – when they hit back to draw 32-32 with hosts London Broncos.

Chris Ulugia, who has dislocated his shoulder.

Chris Ulugia, who has dislocated his shoulder.

They face another tough challenge on an artificial pitch this weekend, but coach John Duffy feels his team are improving and can challenge their Betfred Super League hosts – if they cut out costly lapses in concentration.

“We have got to take some confidence from going to London and getting a point,” Duffy said.

“London are in form and should have beaten Catalans the week before.

“We know we can get better, which is good. It is always going to be a tough task playing a Super League team, but we have got to go there and express ourselves and have a good dig.”

Rovers were beaten 38-12 by Leigh Centurions in this year’s first meeting with top-flight opposition in the middle-eights.

“We are learning every game,” Duffy said.

“It is a different intensity when you play a Super League team.

“They are used to a higher intensity. We will maybe do some things differently to change our game, but we have definitely learned from the Leigh experience.

“It is about being more composed. In big games it is easy to have a brain explosion or a lapse of concentration because of the intensity.

“We have got to make sure we are switched on for the full-80.”

Rovers trailed 12-0 after seven minutes against Leigh and were 14-0 behind in the first half at London.

“We did start better last week,” Duffy added. “If we make a good start we have got to make sure we are in the grind and we are going set for set, rather than having a brain explosion – throwing an off-load or giving away a penalty on the last tackle.

“Those things bite you on the backside.”

Duffy confirmed Chris Ulugia suffered a dislocated shoulder scoring Rovers’ match-saving try last week and is likely to need surgery which will end his season.

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