FEATHERSTONE ROVERS have built one of the most impressive squads in the Championship.
With a squad of almost 30 players full of quality experienced and youthful talent, Sean Long’s side are favourites to earn promotion to Super League – and on the evidence of last night’s 50-0 drubbing of Keighley Cougars, they won’t be too far away.
Attracting a number of top flight stars, one of those through the doors at the Millennium Stadium has been former Toulouse Olympique star Chris Hankinson.
Hankinson, a goalkicking centre, has revealed that he turned down Super League offers to join Rovers and lauded Featherstone head coach Sean Long for his influence on bringing him to the Millennium Stadium.
“We’ve got a good group of lads, training is nice and intense so it’s all gelling together quite nicely,” Hankinson told League Express.
“There were a couple of Super League offers there, to be honest I did consider some quite deeply but after meeting with Longy (Sean Long) and sharing a joint vision that’s what ultimately got me over the line at Featherstone.
“I feel like I’m at that point now where the little details matter more than ever. I need to concentrate on getting some numbers up when it comes to assists and tries. He’s got an attacking mindset which is a big pull to certain players and how you want to play.
“He’s got a very good attacking brain but it’s not just that as on the defence side of things he’s very good as well.
“He’s come in and tried to change a lot of bad habits previously and it’s showing especially in training and hopefully we can put that into games.”
Previously Hankinson, who hails from Wigan, spent time at the DW Stadium between 2018 and 2021 but realised he had to leave the club for his career.
“I enjoyed my time there and I got a lot of experience out of it,” Hankinson continued.
“It was a dream to play for my hometown club in Super League. Obviously things didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to, I would have liked to have kicked on and been a mainstay but sometimes you’ve got to venture out to get what’s best for you and that’s what I did at Wigan.
“That took me to places like the capital in London and I loved it at Toulouse, but it’s time for a new chapter now and the ultimate goal.”
Now with Rovers, Hankinson is aiming for promotion.
“Promotion is the aim but there will be a number of teams fighting for it. Now Leigh have left the competition, it has opened it up to a number of teams. Everyone’s ultimate goal is promotion but it is definitely ours.
“That’s one of the main reasons why I wanted to join Featherstone, reaching that goal and taking them to Super League.
“They’ve been going hard for it the past couple of years, but it’s a long year and anything can happen. It all comes down to one game at the end of the year and hopefully we get there.
“It was a tough decision to make personally coming into this year going back into the Championship because I do see myself as a Super League player which is why I want to get Featherstone there.”