James Ford pleased with progress being made by Featherstone Rovers team
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Despite making a number of changes to his starting line-up Ford was pleased with the attacking side to his League Leaders’ Shield winning team in a 56-22 victory in the north east.
He said: “I was happy with the win. I spent all week talking up Newcastle to the players and anybody who would listen really, their results at home had been good all season, specifically back end.
"We knew we would be tested and we came to take the points and to show improvements in some areas – I feel like we did.
"Our response to errors and to things going against us was much stronger, which was really pleasing because in semi-finals and finals things can go against you and you need to be strong, to manage your way out of that.
“I thought our shape and ball movement was the best I’ve seen it since I’ve been here.
"We scored some really nice tries and we added a much bigger degree of patience and get them the next play mentality in terms of our offload stuff. There was lots to be pleased about and I do feel like we’re making progress.
Ford added: “Obviously it was a little bit disappointing to concede a few tries at the back end. But there were lots of new combinations out there, in the centres, halves, back row slots and I thought Newcastle eventually found a way to crack them.
"Soi we’ll have a look at that and make sure we’re better next week against Toulouse.”
Featherstone now play their likeliest biggest rivals for promotion when they travel to France to play Toulouse this Saturday (kick-off 6pm) in their penultimate regular season league game.
They stretched their lead to 10 points over the second-placed French outfit who lost 26-18 at Halifax Panthers last Saturday, but will be wary of the challenge Toulouse can offer after they were only the second team to lower Fev’s colours back in June, winning 36-18 at the Millennium Stadium.