Featherstone firmly focused on play-offs, says Finn
Featherstone Rovers will not want for motivation when they face Leigh Centurions in Sunday’s Kingstone Press Championship qualifying play-off at the Big Fellas Stadium (3.00).
Having lost in two of the last three Championship Grand Finals, including last season’s title decider against Sheffield, there is a sense of unfinished business among a group of players who wrapped up a fourth successive League Leaders’ Shield last weekend, according to Featherstone’s playmaker Liam Finn.
“We’ve experienced the joy of winning a Grand Final (in 2011) and the pain of losing and it definitely hurts more to lose one than it feels good to win one if that makes sense,” said Finn.
“We know what we have to do, and that means not getting ahead of ourselves. Our focus is definitely on Leigh this weekend, not on the Grand Final or anything else. The play-offs are more or less knock out rugby so you’ve got to have that little bit of extra determination.”
Rovers have beaten Leigh in their two Kingstone Press Championship encounters this season but the Centurions memorably knocked them out of the Northern Rail Cup at the Big Fellas Stadium and went on to win it.
“It’s definitely going to be tough, I don’t think you’re going to get any easy games at this stage of the season,” said Finn. “Leigh are going to have confidence from not only winning the only knock out tournament but coming to Featherstone and beating us in it.
“I expect them to be very confident when they turn up at Featherstone but by the same token we should be just as confident on the back of a good end to the league season so it should make for a good game.
“We were happy to get the win against Sheffield by more than 13 points and then finish it off at Hunslet but having said that, it all starts again this week. It’s a completely different competition which brings its own challenges.”
Finn, 29, has seen it all in his four successful seasons at Featherstone but still approaches the play-offs with a degree of caution. “The play-offs are different in the sense that if you lose this week you get a second chance but more or less it’s knock out rugby. It can come down to anything from a poor performance to a referee’s decision or a fire alarm going off!
“I think you’ve got to approach every game with the same attitude if you can, but circumstances obviously change. External influences like extra media attention and stuff like that adds to the hype surrounding the game, so it can affect you if you’re not careful.”
There has been speculation that Finn, who holds the world record for most successful consecutive goal kicks and has been named Ireland captain for the World Cup, will be leaving the club. It could be unsettling going into the play-offs but he is happy to put an end to such speculation.
“There’s been plenty of talk that I’m leaving, but I spoke to the club last week and they informed me that they want me to stay. I’ve got a year left on my contract and never had any intention of leaving. I didn’t seek a move elsewhere. I’m happy to stay. I’ve had great times for four years and I’m hoping that I can continue for a few more.”
Sunday, September 8th. Featherstone Rovers v Leigh Centurions at Big Fellas Stadium, ko 3pm. Ticket prices: £17 Adults, £10 Concessions, £5 Juniors.
The 2013 Kingstone Press Championships Finals Day at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday September 29 features a feast of first class Rugby League action with three matches kicking off with the Rugby League Conference Challenge Trophy Final, Leigh Miners v Wigan St Patricks (11.30am), followed by the Championship One Play-off Final (2.00pm) and Championship Grand Final (4.30pm). Tickets cost from just £15 for adults, £10 for concessions and can be purchased by visiting; www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk or by calling the RFL Ticket Office on 0844 856 1113.