The Qualifiers begin on Saturday, and the TV game for this weekend comes at Big Fellas Stadium where Featherstone Rovers take on Leeds Rhinos.
Featherstone sealed their place in the middle eights with a superb late season winning streak. Batley Bulldogs, Halifax and Bradford Bulls were all put to the sword by Jon Sharp’s men, who now have a massive payday when Leeds’ great following descends on Post Office Road.
It’s certainly been an interesting season for the Rhinos. They finished ninth in Super League after a slow start but they did pick up some form in the latter stages with wins over Hull FC, Wigan Warriors and Hull Kingston Rovers. The signing of James Segeyaro has certainly boosted the Leeds ranks and his presence out of dummy-half is something that the Rhinos required heading into the middle eights.
These two teams have already faced off this season as the Rovers triumphed 32-16 in a pre-season friendly back in January. Kyle Briggs starred with two tries for the hosts against a youthful Leeds outfit, which included Tommy Brierley, Jordan Lilley and Ashton Golding. Lilley and Golding have played for Featherstone throughout 2016 on a dual-registration deal.
Three current Leeds players, who are on loan at Featherstone, are in the latter’s squad for tomorrow’s match. 2015 Grand Final winner Josh Walters, Luke Briscoe, and Jordan Baldwinson have all been selected by coach Sharp and they are in line to make an appearance against their parent club.
Featherstone squad is as follows..
Baldwinson, Bostock, Briggs, Briscoe, Channing, Cooper, Craven, Davies, Duckworth, Ellis, Griffin, Hardman, Ormondroyd, Snitch, Spears, Tagg, Taulapapa, Thackeray, Walters.
Leeds’ team looks strong on paper but they’re in the Qualifiers for a reason. Brett Ferres will return to the Big Fellas Stadium, four years after his Castleford side were knocked out by Daryl Powell’s Rovers.
Leeds squad is as follows.. Ablett, Achurch, Briscoe, Burrow, Cuthbertson, Delaney, Ferres, Garbutt, Galloway, Golding, Hall, Jones-Buchanan, Keinhorst, McGuire, Moon, Segeyaro, Singleton, Sutcliffe, Watkins