Featherstone Rovers have confirmed the appointment of Jon Sharp as the club’s new head coach on a two-and-a-half year contract.
Featherstone-born Sharp will take up his new role with immediate effect and is relishing the challenge of helping his home-town club realise its ambitions in the sport’s exciting new era.
Rovers are currently fifth in the Kingstone Press Championship, and with three league fixtures before the competition splits into the Super 8s, Sharp believes a top-four finish is an achievable goal.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be back in club coaching,” he said, “especially at a club which means so much to me. I have enjoyed my time working with the sport’s match officials, but I really missed being involved with the cut and thrust of working with players and preparing for games on a weekly basis.
“I played at Featherstone for a couple of seasons almost 20 years ago and I have great memories of that time. I also cut my teeth as a coach with the club’s Academy so there is a real sense of ‘coming home’ about being here again.
“Featherstone Rovers is one of the sport’s most famous names.
“I feel honoured and privileged to have this chance. It’s a long time since Featherstone were in the top flight and my aim is to put the club back where it belongs. That hadn’t really been achievable during the Super League era, until this new league structure has given the club a realistic chance of achieving its ambitions.
“We play Leigh Centurions this weekend; a tough start but one I’m sure everyone here at Featherstone is looking forward to. Leigh have been setting the standards in the Championship over the last two years so this is an opportunity for Featherstone to show what we are capable of.
“There is a cracking squad here at Rovers – a good strong blend of experienced players and high quality youngsters. My job is to bring out the best in them; that’s the most exciting part of it for me.
“The facilities here at Featherstone really are first class. The Big Fellas Stadium is now the best stadium in the area, by a long way, and the training facilities are outstanding, all of which is a credit to the club’s chairman Mark Campbell.
“Mark’s ambitions for the club, both on and off the field, are infectious and they have inspired me to come and work here.
“Jon is the perfect coach to deliver the club on the next stage of our journey towards Super League,” said Rovers chairman, Mark Campbell. “His knowledge of both the club and the game is second to none and we are delighted that he has accepted our offer to become head coach.
“We haven’t seen the best of Featherstone Rovers so far this season. I have no doubt that Jon will help us realise our potential in the weeks, months and years ahead.”
Jon Sharp played for Featherstone in 1996 and 1997 having previously enjoyed a successful 11-season career at Hull FC. He was appointed coach of Featherstone Rovers Academy in 1998 and went on to coach Huddersfield Giants and the Crusaders.
Jon was also an assistant coach with Great Britain, and he has spent the last three years as Match Officials coach for the Rugby Football League.