This Sunday’s match will be perfect for one of these sides to stake a claim for a finish in the higher reaches of the table. Both Featherstone and Dewsbury picked up solid, but far from spectacular, wins in round four. More fluency in attack should be the call from Messrs Sharp and Morrison..
Last Time Out
Featherstone overcame Oldham 20-6 at the Big Fellas Stadium in front of a respectable crowd of 1,739. Two tries in the first 11 minutes for the hosts stated their attentions clearly as two of coach Jon Sharp’s off-season signings Misi Taulapapa and Anthony Thackeray touched down. However, the floodgates were far from open as the Roughyeds kept their defence in order and even grabbed a try of their own courtesy of full-back Richard Lepori. At the half-time break, Featherstone were only 10-6 up and were in need of a few more tries to ease any lingering nerves. The Rovers’ defence stayed firm for the second half and didn’t leak any points at all, while the attack provided two tries to seal the victory. Kyle Briggs crossed the chalk for his first try since he re-signed for the West Yorkshire club and Danny Craven also scored a four pointer with a minute left on the clock. It was a decent day at the office for Featherstone but a more challenging fixture at the same venue awaits.
Dewsbury suffered a defeat to Oldham at Bower Fold in round three so coach Glenn Morrison was expecting a positive reaction when the Rams returned home to face Whitehaven. A 20-4 victory won’t have excited the crowd too much but just getting back to winning ways was the main priority for Dewsbury. A simple enough first half saw the hosts head into the interval with a 12-0 advantage following scores from Josh Guzdek and Shane Grady. In the second period, Whitehaven hit back through Scott McAvoy but the conversion from Louis Jouffret was unsuccessful. Despite heavy pressure from the Cumbrians, the Rams soaked it up and managed to provide the killer blow down the other end courtesy of Scott Hale. A Sykes conversion put further daylight between the sides and then, in the dying embers of the game, the former Super League stalwart added a penalty goal to bring the match to a close.
The prop forward positions have been improved on by both sides in the off-season. Darrell Griffin has arrived at Featherstone after playing his most recent rugby at Salford Red Devils. Colton Roche has also returned to the club and brings a lot of potential that needs to be tapped into. Both Griffin and Roche featured in Featherstone’s win over Oldham, with the former starting the tie and the latter coming off the bench. Dewsbury have promoted youngster Jack Teanby to the first team squad and he has been integrated nicely by coach Morrison. Experienced heads including new signings Tony Tonks and monster Aussie Matt Groat will help with Teanby’s progression and the Rams will benefit tenfold from it. It’ll be interesting to see how things pan out in the midfield at Featherstone this weekend as two good packs clash.
It’s been regularly commented on that Featherstone’s home form last year was the main reason they didn’t finish in the top four. They’ve got off to a good start this season at the Big Fellas Stadium with two wins from as many matches but they need to be beating competitive sides like Dewsbury if they’re to threaten a place in the top four in 2016. Dewsbury have won three out of their first four games and will see this weekend’s match as a great way to send a statement of intent to other sides in the league. It should be a cracker! – Featherstone by 8