Featherstone Rovers make triple signing in huge statement of intent ahead of 2022 Championship season

Featherstone Rovers have made a huge statement of intent ahead of the 2022 Championship campaign with a trio of big-name signings.

By Ben McKenna
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 10:22 am
Updated Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 10:39 am
NEW ARRIVAL: Ryley Jacks has joined Featherstone Rovers. Picture: Getty Images.
NEW ARRIVAL: Ryley Jacks has joined Featherstone Rovers. Picture: Getty Images.

Melbourne Storm half-back Ryley Jacks, two-time Super League Grand Final winning prop Adam Cuthbertson and Australian prop Ben Mathiou have all joined Rovers as they look to make it third time lucky in their quest for promotion.

Featherstone reached the Championship Grand Final in 2019 and 2021 before losing to Toronto Wolfpack and Toulouse Olympique respectively.

They now look in a strong position to finally clinch a place in Super League this year, with the three new arrivals joining the club ahead of their Championship opener at York City Knights on Monday evening.

Sign up to our daily Wakefield Express Today newsletter

NEW ARRIVAL: Adam Cuthbertson. Picture: Getty Images.

Head coach Brian McDermott, who guided Toronto to promotion and won a number of major trophies as head coach at Leeds Rhinos, has already bolstered his side with the big-name arrivals of Joey Leilua and Jesse Sene-Lefao.

“I had a discussion with Martin [Vickers] and Brian [McDermott] about a week ago about coming over to play for Featherstone," said Jacks of his move to West Yorkshire.

"I’ve always wanted to do it [play in the UK], knowing the story of how Featherstone have come so close in recent years, I really fancied the challenge of teaming up with Joey and the other boys to go that one step further. It’s the story that really made me want to come over.

"I’m a natural number seven, a controlling half, I bring a kicking game and a running game but I really pride myself on my defence. I’ve had some time at a really great club where I’ve learnt a lot from some excellent players. I go hard for the full eighty minutes and win, that’s what it’s all about for me.”

Cuthbertson, 36, played over 100 games in the NRL before moving to Leeds where he won two Super League titles and two Challenge Cups.

He has joined Rovers as a player/coach, having previously worked with McDermott at the Rhinos.

"The chance to work with Mac [Brian McDermott] again was for me a brilliant opportunity. We've got a great relationship which continued well after our time at Leeds," he said.

"With a passion for performance and coaching it was a no brainer for me when Mac approached me about joining him at Featherstone as a player/coach.

"I certainly feel like I’ve something left in me that I want to show, there’s a fire in there that hasn’t gone out so I’m raring to go for one last challenge.”

Brian McDermott added: “I’m pleased to have got Adam on board. He comes to us as both player and coach. As a coach Adam has already got great experience while coaching the women’s teams of both Rhinos and York and he is keen to progress further with Featherstone Rovers.

"He’s demonstrated to me quite clearly that he’s got a big year in him. He’s clearly fired up and raring to go for one final challenge. All successful teams have good back-room staff and between Adam and Ian Hardman I know our players will be getting two very good coaches who have a huge amount to knowledge to share.”

Commenting on his arrival, prop Mathiou said: “I’m really looking forward to being part of a successful club in the UK. Being involved with Featherstone, a club that has a lot of history and has inspired me to want to be a part of the team that works hard to help the club be promoted to Super League.

"I’m a competitor and will compete on every play. I work hard on my leg speed and power. The fans will get a hard-working, honest player. I can’t wait to pull on the Featherstone shirt and hear the cheers of the supporters and fans behind the club.”