Featherstone Rovers assistant coach Paul March hailed the potential impact of his side’s 1895 Cup triumph on Saturday for the whole local community.
March led Rovers to their 41-34 victory over York City Knights in the absence of head coach James Webster, who was isolating in accordance with Covid-19 protocols.
The former Wakefield and Huddersfield player combines his coaching role with a position in the club’s foundation as a development officer, and he believes that the club’s achievement will be a boost to Rugby League in the local area, having seen first-hand how their trip to Wembley galvanised the town.
“Honestly, it showed on Friday what it means to everybody that we’d got to Wembley,” said March.
“Schools were out, people were down Station Lane (waving the team off), the full community spirit was there.
“I’m going to go into schools on Monday with that trophy. It’s about educating the youngsters that Featherstone Rovers are one of the top teams and that you support your local team. I’m glad that we’ve done it for them as well as ourselves.”
They did it in some quite extraordinary circumstances, not least with March surprisingly at the helm as Webster was forced to miss out along with a number of senior players.
“I found out on Thursday night that I’d be leading the team out and taking charge,” said March.
“I’ve been off with Covid myself and came out of isolation on Thursday.
“It’s an honour leading a famous club like Featherstone out at Wembley, it’s what dreams are made of. I’m chuffed not only for myself and my family, but for the supporters and for Mark Campbell, the Chairman.”
There were starring roles in the victory for Craig Hall – who became the second winner of the Ray French Award as man of the match – along with Fa’amanu Brown and Dane Chisholm, and it is a strong spine which March believes can help proper Featherstone to even greater heights in the months to come.
He said: “We’ve got ambitions not just to win this Cup but to play Super League, so players like Nu, Dane and Craig fit that bill.”
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