Sean Long reckons Featherstone Rovers have a lot to learn after surviving Batley Bulldogs fightback

Head coach Sean Long was unhappy with his side’s second half performance as Featherstone Rovers had to withstand a Batley Bulldogs fightback to get over the line for another Betfred Championship victory.
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Rovers looked set for a comfortable victory as they played down the famous Batley slope in the first half and held a 20-2 advantage at the break.

But they were not so fluent up the hill and were pushed all the way before a final 26-18 score made sure Fev held onto their 100 per cent league record.

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"I was a bit disappointed with the second half,” said Rovers boss Long.

Craig Hall gets Featherstone Rovers moving in his rare half-back role at Batley. Picture: Rob HareCraig Hall gets Featherstone Rovers moving in his rare half-back role at Batley. Picture: Rob Hare
Craig Hall gets Featherstone Rovers moving in his rare half-back role at Batley. Picture: Rob Hare

"The first half we looked quite organised, clinical, the defence was really good – we only conceded a penalty goal.

"We started off the second half okay for the first five minutes then we were our own worst enemy at times, dropping the ball, kicking it dead, discipline so there’s a lot to work on over the next couple of weeks and taking us forward throughout the season.

"We’ll get a lot of learnings from this game.”

Rovers had to overcome being dealt a blow before kick-off as they lost key player Elijah Taylor with with a hamstring injury picked up during the warm-up.

Luke Briscoe about to go over for a try for Featherstone Rovers at Batley. Picture: Rob HareLuke Briscoe about to go over for a try for Featherstone Rovers at Batley. Picture: Rob Hare
Luke Briscoe about to go over for a try for Featherstone Rovers at Batley. Picture: Rob Hare
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Craig Hall came into the team for a rare game in the halves in place of Taylor.

Batley opened the scoring with Jimmy Meadows kicking a penalty, but Fev were quickly replying as Josh Hardcastle took advantage of a fine grubber kick by Riley Dean to score the first try.#

Hardcastle was over again 10 minutes later from close range and Rovers were taking control.

They scored again when a loose ball was collected by Luke Briscoe to go over and a fourth try followed as Joey Leilua touched down.

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The second half saw Batley hit back through Josh Hodson, but when they spilled the ball on their next attacking set Connor Jones collected then sprinted more than 80 metres for Fev’s fifth try.

However, Batley dominated the remainder and Adam Gledhill kept them in the game with a try.

Both sides lost a man to the sin-bin – Dane Manning for the Bulldogs and Brad Day for Rovers – and when Aidan McGowan crossed for the hosts it was really game on.

Featherstone came under further pressure, but held out to maintain their unbeaten start in the Championship.

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London Broncos are next up for Rovers when they make their first trip to the Cherry Red Records Stadium in Wimbledon next Sunday.

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Ahead of the game Featherstone signed Tongan international Albert Vete on a short term loan deal from neighbours Castleford Tigers.

The New Zealand born prop forward was immediately drafted into the squad along with another loanee Yusuf Aydin who has joined from Hull KR.

Long explained: “We have picked up a few injuries since the York game, particularly in the forward pack.

“Therefore we have brought in some quality from Super League to bolster us in the next couple of weeks.

“This will give the squad a bit of a life in what is an important part of the season.”