Featherstone captain eyeing Grand Final return
Featherstone captain Stuart Dickens insist the champagne remains on ice despite Rovers having secured a second successive Co-operative Championship League Leaders’ Shield this month.
Rovers, who enter the play-offs with a Qualifying Semi-final against Leigh Centurions at The BigFellas Stadium on Thursday, September 15 (7.30pm), have their sights set firmly on going one better than a year ago by winning the Grand Final at The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington, on Sunday October 2.
Despite topping the table at the end of the regular season in 2010, when they lost just twice en route to the League Leaders’ Shield, Rovers lost the title to Halifax in dramatic fashion, an experience Dickens and his team-mates are desperate to make amends for.
“We’re delighted with how this season has gone,” said Dickens. “To finish top is always a great achievement. We finished top last year but it’s a tough task to finish top two years in a row.
“The league this year has been very tough and a lot closer than in recent years, but we’re not getting carried away with things yet. We experienced this last year and then we slipped up in the Grand Final and that’s not something we want to happen again this season.
“The way we lost the final last year was very disappointing. I thought we had the game won with 20 minutes left to play, but we let Halifax back into the game and they punished us for that. We need to put that right this season and we’re determined to make amends but we’re not looking past the Leigh game yet though.”
Having finished in the top two, both Featherstone and Leigh have the luxury of knowing that defeat on Thursday won’t spell an end to the season, but Dickens says victory is the only item on the agenda for Rovers as they take on the Northern Rail Cup champions for the third time this year.
“Leigh led the league for big chunks of the year and we’ve had to win pressure games to keep close to them,” he said. “They’re a very good side with some great players and we haven’t beaten them yet this season.
“But we are confident and are going into the game looking for a win. If it doesn’t happen then we get a second chance, but that’s not how we’re approaching it. We’ve been in a good run of form recently and we want to keep our momentum going and losing isn’t something that’s entering our minds.
“I’m confident. The lads are all playing well and we’ve got some good momentum behind us now. We know we need to improve if we are going to beat Leigh this time around but I’m confident that we can up our level and get a good result on Thursday.”
Tickets for the Co-operative Championship Qualifying Semi-final play-off between Featherstone Rovers and Leigh Centurions at The BigFellas Stadium on Thursday, September 15, cost from £15 Adult, £9 concession and £3 children and can be purchased at the turnstiles.
The Co-operative Championships Kids Go Free offer returns for this year’s Grand Finals Day (Sunday October 2) meaning that for the first time at a Rugby League Final, children have free admission when accompanied by a paying adult.
The East Stand of The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington, has been dedicated solely to families, so to take advantage of this offer select an East Stand ticket by calling the RFL Ticket office on 0844 856 1113 or by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk and book your free child ticket under Kids Go Free.
Adult tickets for the Co-operative Championships Grand Finals day at The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington on Sunday October 2 cost from £14 and can be purchased by calling the RFL Ticket Office on 0844 856 1113 or by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk