Wembley experience will bolster promotion bid

Former Super League star and local hero Richard Whiting reckons Featherstone’s forthcoming Wembley trip could prove highly beneficial to the Championship promotion chasers.

Rovers face York in the 1895 Cup Final in their first visit to the national stadium in 38 years on Saturday week, July 17.

And ex-Hull ace Whiting, who was born in Featherstone and began his career at the club, believes the experience gained could be vital.

“Without being disrespectful to the rest of the Championship clubs, it’s already looking like a two-horse race between Rovers and Toulouse,” said the 36-year-old.

“With the 1895 Cup Final being part of a double-header with the Challenge Cup final, for Featherstone to be part of the game’s showpiece event is massive.

“The fans can have day out and support Rovers at Wembley, and hopefully the club can use it as a springboard to kick on.

“They can also use the experience of playing in the big match when it comes round to the play-offs and hopefully another final appearance.”

Whiting won Featherstone’s Young Player of the Year award in 2003 to help earn a move to Super League Hull, where he spent twelve years.

He then had spells at Leigh and Toronto, and was player welfare manager at the Wolfpack when the Canadians beat Featherstone in the 2019 Championship promotion play-off final.

“It was the most conflicted I’ve ever been in a game,” he recalled.

“Working for the Wolfpack, my head wanted them to win, but being a Featherstone lad, in my heart I wanted it to be Rovers who went up,” he told BBC Radio Leeds.

Two years on, Whiting thinks the club are well placed to make the top-flight.

“To be at the top table, where everyone in Featherstone has wanted the club to be since Super League started, would be huge,” he added.

“I think real progress has been made in recent years. They have a good coach in James Webster, and are putting things in place to be a Super League side.”

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