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Match thread: Championship Rd 15. Leigh v Featherstone Rovers. Monday 13th June 2022.


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Seconds out....... Round 3!!!

Big game and a big test for Rovers next Monday live on Premier Sports.

Hardly necessary to point out how important this game is, in terms of trying to finish top of the table, and also to give ourselves a psychological boost after finishing second best at WHL.

What state is our 31 man squad in?

Five players out on loan, Doyle and Gill in no-mans-land leaves us with an active squad of 24 at the moment.

Out injured are Lockwood, JSL and Hardcastle. After the Bradford match it appears that unfortunately Bussey and Hepi may join them. Fingers crossed to all of them to be back to fitness asap.

From the Bradford match we had Pickersgill, Ford, Ferres and Hall waiting in the wings. Perhaps we will see the reintroduction of some of them at Leigh.

It's the kind of surface at Leigh (like Widnes, Newcastle, any others?) which our senior forwards don't favour. Maybe Koppy, Ferres, Cuthbo fall into that category.

It would be nice to see us bounce back and win this one, and the bash too. We'd all trade those for a win on October 1st though.

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I'm sad to say I can't see beyond a Leigh win, potentially no Bussey, and our older forwards that don't like/can't be risked on the artificial surface leaves us very light in that department. But hopefully Big Mac can come with a master plan and we bring home the 2 points.  My glass definitely half empty for this game   

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4 minutes ago, Normy_Rover said:

I'm sad to say I can't see beyond a Leigh win, potentially no Bussey, and our older forwards that don't like/can't be risked on the artificial surface leaves us very light in that department. But hopefully Big Mac can come with a master plan and we bring home the 2 points.  My glass definitely half empty for this game   

My feelings too - if we can keep Leigh in their half of the field then I’d have some hope but I thought our kicking game in the 1895 cup wasn’t effective enough. They seem to have hit some top form recently coupled with a fit squad vs our beat up one then I can’t see past a Leigh win. but then I’ve been to LSV a few times fearing the worst and then we’ve come back with a win so what do I know 😊💙⚪

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55 minutes ago, marklaspalmas said:

Seconds out....... Round 3!!!

Big game and a big test for Rovers next Monday live on Premier Sports.

Hardly necessary to point out how important this game is, in terms of trying to finish top of the table, and also to give ourselves a psychological boost after finishing second best at WHL.

What state is our 31 man squad in?

Five players out on loan, Doyle and Gill in no-mans-land leaves us with an active squad of 24 at the moment.

Out injured are Lockwood, JSL and Hardcastle. After the Bradford match it appears that unfortunately Bussey and Hepi may join them. Fingers crossed to all of them to be back to fitness asap.

From the Bradford match we had Pickersgill, Ford, Ferres and Hall waiting in the wings. Perhaps we will see the reintroduction of some of them at Leigh.

It's the kind of surface at Leigh (like Widnes, Newcastle, any others?) which our senior forwards don't favour. Maybe Koppy, Ferres, Cuthbo fall into that category.

It would be nice to see us bounce back and win this one, and the bash too. We'd all trade those for a win on October 1st though.

Sheffield

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1 hour ago, marklaspalmas said:

It's the kind of surface at Leigh (like Widnes, Newcastle, any others?) which our senior forwards don't favour.

 

I think that Leigh is a Grassmaster pitch which is kind of a hybrid that is made of natural grass mixed with artificial fibres, I think York is similar, and I think they are generally considered to have the properties more of grass as compared with the 4G type surfaces. So those two grounds might not be an issue for the senior/veteran forwards, they are generally considered to be very good surfaces I believe.

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Our line defence is not top notch and Leigh thrive on scoring from close range unlike previous Leigh sides who loved throwing the ball wide at speed. They are an excellent defensive side also and it will be difficult to come back with the points this time. Having said that then take away that last minute blunder at Tottenham then that game would have finished with just eight points between the sides despite Leigh's second half superiority. So they are not unbeatable.

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Must admit it's easier to be pessimistic than optimistic about this one as others have suggested though we obviously have a chance.

Funnily enough our performance against Bradford on Monday reminded me of when I have seen Leigh this year - their standout attribute is their line speed, in attack they are quickly over the gainline and try to win the collision and play off that,and  in defence they try and pin you back and then move up quickly as a defensive line. So as JPL says above they aren't necessarily about lots of expansive play like before but they tend to win the grind, every time I have seen them they seem to dominate territory and opposing teams find it hard to get out of their own 40 just like Bradford did against us.

(nerdy yardage stat alert...) In the 1895 Final we stood up to them reasonably well in the first half, which was even enough, but they wore us down as our energy levels dropped and also as we gave the ball away early in our sets. You can see that from the plays and yardage stats - in the first half we had 56 play-the-balls for 518 yards compared to their 64 for 554, but in the second half they had 72 PTBs for 750 yards whereas we had only 51 for 412, we didn't get enough defensive breathers and in the last half hour of the game that told as they had 8 sets that went for over 50 yards whereas we had one.

I think if we can hold our own in the field position game then we have a definite chance, but that's a big if. They tend to wear teams down rather than open them up but we will need to control the ruck and win at the gain line in attack and defence much more than we did at Tottenham, and we'll also need a much better completion rate if we are to have a chance. The injury situation is another big issue for us too.

They're not unbeatable, even their current team, but we will need to improve significantly on Tottenham to challenge them.

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if rovers tackle like lions they can win it but alas our goal line defence is often poor and cant see it ever improving with lets say the older generation we have on our books .

The only way of dealing with big brute players is to target them repeatedly until they soon become bug.....red just like a couple of the big bradford players.

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11 hours ago, The Phantom Horseman said:

I think that Leigh is a Grassmaster pitch which is kind of a hybrid that is made of natural grass mixed with artificial fibres, I think York is similar, and I think they are generally considered to have the properties more of grass as compared with the 4G type surfaces. So those two grounds might not be an issue for the senior/veteran forwards, they are generally considered to be very good surfaces I believe.

One we should be spending some of the £2 million on. Next thing to stop us going up. 

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At this stage and especially with the injuries I can't see us getting close to Leigh on Monday. However, that's not to say that we can't beat them later in the season. It's nearly 4 months to the end of the season and lots can change before then.

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13 hours ago, The Phantom Horseman said:

I think that Leigh is a Grassmaster pitch which is kind of a hybrid that is made of natural grass mixed with artificial fibres, I think York is similar, and I think they are generally considered to have the properties more of grass as compared with the 4G type surfaces. So those two grounds might not be an issue for the senior/veteran forwards, they are generally considered to be very good surfaces I believe.

Interesting.

So Leigh, York grassmaster.

Widnes, Sheffield, Newcastle, 4G

All the others turf?

Anyone know about Plough Lane? That will be another new ground for Fev. Grass I assume, as it's football.

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29 minutes ago, marklaspalmas said:

Anyone know about Plough Lane? That will be another new ground for Fev. Grass I assume, as it's football.

I think it's another hybrid, grass with synthetic fibres. I think most of these modern hybrids "play" like turf rather than a 4G.

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   Plough lane has a grass pitch which provides a very good playing surface.As for Monday less of our forwards busting a gut trying to go down the middle.Keep Leigh pinned down with the kick,when did we last do a 40/20.Our forwards should put all their energy into tackling the Leigh forwards get stuck into them but under no circumstances give penalties away to give them field position.We cant afford mistakes so ball retention in vital.I won't get many people agreeing but for this game i would leave Hellewell in the pack and play Ford in the centre a  position he has played before.Jacks and Smith are our best half back pairing  and Jones must play 9 for at least 60 min.I for one am looking forward to it Nowt in it for the first 40 min last time and we were far from our best.

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1 hour ago, The Phantom Horseman said:

I think it's another hybrid, grass with synthetic fibres. I think most of these modern hybrids "play" like turf rather than a 4G.

YOUR right PH you  still sow grass seeds   The grass roots entwine with the polypropylene fibers and grow deeper and wider.The PP fibers above the surface are designed to ensure an even and stable surface. So basically they're grass piches you still have to mow with added strenght so they don't cut up and turn to mush when it rains

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One thing we missed Jones in the final wildie did not have his best game and we had no replacement conner will exploit their big forrads that are slower looking forward to it nobody gave us a chance when we reached the final the other year so win or loose no biggie yet.

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1 hour ago, philcow said:

One thing we missed Jones in the final wildie did not have his best game and we had no replacement conner will exploit their big forrads that are slower

Jones is at his best in open space, he makes hay against tired teams when the gaps open up. I'm not sure he would have made much difference at Tottenham as we were losing the ruck and thus facing two markers and a set defensive line on most plays.

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17 hours ago, Phil Briscoe said:

Their forwards totally dominated ours last time. Given that it will be largely the same personnel it’s quite hard to make a case for us winning as much as I’d like to. 

We might not even have the same personnel in our pack. From the guys who started at Tottenham Lockwood, Bussey and Sene-Lefao all have question marks over their availablity.

If all those 3 are missing we would have Cooper, Koppy, Moors and 18-year-old Eseh available as middles, plus Cuthbertson who has only played half a game since a long lay-off and to some people didn't look fully fit, plus Ferres, who had a moderate game at Wembley and hasn't played since, and Hepi, who also went off injured against Bradford and hasn't made much impact yet anyway.

Then at back row we'd have Davies and either Ferres, or switch Hellewell from centre. Let's put it this way, however we go on Monday, I'd be hopeful of better later in the season if we manage to be a bit less banged up by then.

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31 minutes ago, The Phantom Horseman said:

Jones is at his best in open space, he makes hay against tired teams when the gaps open up. I'm not sure he would have made much difference at Tottenham as we were losing the ruck and thus facing two markers and a set defensive line on most plays.

IMO a fully fit hooker would make a world of difference, Wildie wasn't right on the day and must have been knackered by half time, so we had no go forward. Subsequently Leigh were starting their sets from much further upfield.

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In the final, they played well, where as we played moderately.

I don't expect us to make as many simple, unforced, handling errors as we did. 

I also expect that we will have a plan to cope better with Ipape, who I believe was the main difference between the 2 teams.

I expect Ferres to play, and would expect a much better performance from him. I still maintain he was our best forward against Catalans, and still up to this level. I would be surprised if Cuthbertson plays on Monday.

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1 minute ago, Steve Slater said:

IMO a fully fit hooker would make a world of difference, Wildie wasn't right on the day and must have been knackered by half time, so we had no go forward. Subsequently Leigh were starting their sets from much further upfield.

I don't think the fact that we had "no go forward" was down to Wildie (and I agree he didn't look right on the day), our players weren't winning the collison and landing on their front often enough. Hookers thrive off quick play-the-balls and they tend to scoot when one or both markers aren't in the correct position, and neither of those happened much at Tottenham.

On the subject of Jones, I must concede in reference to your earlier postings that he again played very well as an emergency centre on Monday!

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Posted (edited)

Watched the Leigh v Halifax game on YouTube, some things didn't surprise me, some did.

Leigh's game plan was the same as it's been all season, win the arm wrestle, one-out rugby until they get into the 20m, very good defence when Halifax were in yardage - Halifax usually started with the ball near their line and were kicking on the 5th tackle from about their 30m line. Leigh dominated in terms of territory and just wore Halifax down.

Halifax didn't help themselves though, I think they kicked the ball dead for a 7-tackle set 3 times but also Leigh's three first half tries came from a Fax knock on 10m out and two set restarts, one on the Fax 20m line on the 5th tackle (which did look a fairly harsh call).

Leigh try to grind their oppponents down and it's very effective, they hardly moved the ball around at all and barely had a clean break in the entire game, they just roll downfield and wait for the defence to crack near the line.

Things that surprised me - I thought this had been built up as a big game but it lacked any of the intensity of our two meetings with Leigh, maybe because it was so one-sided. There didn't seem to be much niggle or sledging (apart from Sidlow trying to wind up Tangata after one try), maybe that's because Hicks was ref, as he will be on Monday, he took a veyr firm stance against that in the game v Leigh at POR.

Also, the atmosphere seemed very flat. I don't know if it was where the camera was positioned but there didn't seem to be much cheering or singing from the fans, I think I only heard one chant of "Oh Leigh, oh Leigh, oh Leigh" or "Oh Hali, Hali", maybe both sets of fans had forgotten the words.

The only time Halifax threatened with ball in hand was when they moved it to their right hand side, Leigh's left, especially late in sets, similar to us in the 2nd half at Tottenham when we made a few breaks down that side.

I don't fancy our chances of beating them in the middle of the park especially with our injuries but if we can hold our own there we might have a chance of making some breaks out wide.

 

 

Edited by The Phantom Horseman
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I also think that when we are close to their try line we dont keep passing miracle balls that at Tottenham seemed to go astray. If we die with the ball in their 10 that , to me,  is a good outcome and they then have to do the hard yards.  But overall your assessment of Leigh seems spot on Phantom. 

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17 minutes ago, haskey said:

I also think that when we are close to their try line we dont keep passing miracle balls that at Tottenham seemed to go astray. If we die with the ball in their 10 that , to me,  is a good outcome and they then have to do the hard yards. 

Yes I agree. I think at Tottenham both Briscoe and Hall tried to go on the outside in situations where they would have scored against most other Championship teams but not against the ex-NRL threequarters they were up against. As you suggest, being able to compete with them in terms of field position will be vital.

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