Featherstone Rovers prop-forward Paul Wood is relishing the opportunity to play the current league leaders Leigh Centurions when they visit the BigFellas Stadium this Sunday.
Wood, who joined Featherstone from Warrington during the close-season, helped Rovers to a crucial 12-24 victory at Halifax on Sunday.
“It was good to get the victory against Halifax and helps with our confidence,” said Wood.
“Even though we’ve won three out of four, which is a good return, I don’t think we’ve played particularly well and we’ve won ‘ugly’, so to speak. We’ve got a good platform to build upon now and it’s up to us to improve our performances starting this week against Leigh.”
Wood, born in Wigan, runs a gymnasium in Leigh and is well aware of the threat that the Centurions pose.
“The Leigh supporters are a confident bunch and rightly so after the start they have made to the season,” he added.
“Speak to their fans and they are in buoyant mood, so hopefully they will travel in large numbers on Sunday. They’ve put together a very good squad and have built on the success they enjoyed last season, but we are not a million miles away. There’s a good rivalry between Leigh and ourselves and I’m looking forward to locking horns with them on Sunday.”
With the new structures in place for 2015, Leigh are one of three teams in the Kingstone Press Championship who operate with a full-time squad and Wood recognises this as an advantage, but refuses to use it as an excuse.
“Obviously, I’ve come from a full time environment at Warrington Wolves and it certainly is an advantage in terms of being well prepared and it also helps with speeding up recovery after games,” said Wood.
“However, when playing a full time outfit, it shouldn’t be used as an excuse by part-time teams if the result doesn’t go your way. I wouldn’t tolerate it as a valid excuse because once you are on that field it’s 17 blokes versus 17 blokes.”
Wood has been ever present so far for Rovers in 2015 and, despite the result, enjoyed making his first appearance in a Rovers shirt against Bradford Bulls a fortnight ago.
“It was great to finally pull on a Featherstone shirt at the Big Fellas Stadium. The crowd against Bradford Bulls was fantastic and it’s great that we have so many fanatical and passionate supporters cheering us on. Hopefully they will be cheering us on again Sunday and hopefully we will give them something to cheer about.”