Rovers aiming to raise the bar in Northern Rail Cup
Featherstone Rovers coach Daryl Powell says his side will be ready to come out of the blocks firing when they host Doncaster RLFC in their opening 2011 Northern Rail Cup fixture on Friday, February 4.
Featherstone were arguably the most dominant side in the Co-operative Championships last season, but a poor showing in the Northern Rail Cup and a dramatic golden-point defeat to Halifax in the Championship Grand Final ensured they finished the season trophy-less, something Powell does not want to see repeated in 2011.
“We were a very consistent side last year,” said Powell. “We were very hard to beat and we had an excellent season bar the very last 20 minutes of it when we let our lead in the Grand Final slip away.
“Losing in the final has created extra motivation for us, we’ve come back stronger and we want to go out and go one better this season and win some trophies. This year I’ll be expecting us to start well and it goes without saying that every club wants to make it to the Northern Rail Cup final.
“We have a game against Doncaster to start the competition and some people are saying that will be an easy game for us, but it’s very dangerous to look at any match in that light because you become complacent.
“I have a group of players here who like to go at every game 100 per cent and who like to go hard into every contest so we won’t be taking any games for granted.
“We had a disappointing run in the Cup last season and that’s something we need to rectify. We played poor in a few games and it cost us so we need to start as we mean to go on.”
Featherstone have been drawn in the same group as fellow Championship teams Barrow Raiders and Widnes Vikings, both of whom have added big name signings to their backroom staff with Garry Schofield and Denis Betts taking the reigns as head coach, respectively.
“There are some very good sides in the competition,” said Powell. “We’ve got a very tough group and I think Widnes will be big improvers this season with Denis at the helm.
“Barrow have also got new firepower with Garry coming in. He’s promising to play an exciting brand of Rugby League and I think if both teams can step up, the competition will be incredibly tough.
“However I’m confident that we can replicate the consistency we had last season. We’ve recruited well in the off-season and we’ve got a very strong side. We lost a good player in Kyle Briggs and that’s meant we’ve had to adapt a little, but the players who are stepping up to the plate are equally talented.”
Tickets for the 2011 Northern Rail Cup final at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool, on Sunday July 17 cost from just £12 for adults (£5 concessions) and are available by calling the RFL Ticket Office on 0844 856 11 13 or by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk
For more details on Northern Rail visit http://www.northernrail.org/