Written by Daniel Church
A November 2021 press release showed that Featherstone Rovers, Wakefield Trinity, and the Castleford Tigers were set for a combined £6 million cash injection from the Wakefield council. Looking at how this has benefited the Championship club Featherstone, will it be a similar situation to Toronto Wolfpack?
The passionate ‘Blue Wall’ of the Featherstone Rovers are backing their team for a promotion to the Super League this season, and with good reason. With Brian McDermott in charge and arguably the best recruitment ever witnessed for a Championship side, promotion looks almost guaranteed, with one hurdle, Leigh Centurions.
Brian McDermott has taken the ropes at Featherstone this season, last in charge of the Toronto Wolfpack, and boasting a frankly ridiculous 97% win percentage with them many feel that this will be the case again.
Much like Toulouse Olympique last season, Featherstone are already looking likely to go invincible. Having already scoring 156 points, and conceding just 72 after the first six games, Featherstone are well on their way already. Looking at their recruitment this season, and the depth of their squad, long may their unbeaten run continue. As it stands, Featherstone are top of the Championship with five wins and a draw from their opening six Championship games.
🔙 𝙏𝙃𝙀 𝙍𝙀𝙏𝙐𝙍𝙉
After three games away from home, the Rovers return to the Millennium Stadium on April 3rd.
— Featherstone Rovers (@FevRoversRLFC) March 26, 2022
The NRL is the best rugby league competition in the world, so it is obvious why Featherstone have poached players from there. With a huge cash injection from the council, The Rovers’ focused on the recruitment of quality players. The signing of Joey Leilua was an interesting one with the Samoan International making the switch from the NRL after falling out with the Wests Tigers. Possibly the best rugby league Championship signing in history, this shows us that Featherstone are willing to spend the money in their push for promotion to Super League. I find it extremely interesting that as part of the deal, Featherstone found Leilua a house. This is why he chose the rovers over rivals Leigh Centurions. This shows the absolute hard work of the club behind the scenes.
Another signing that was a shock was Adam Cuthbertson. Again with NRL experience, and a two-time Super League and Challenge Cup winner, Cuthbertson is a very good player still, even though he is now 36. He holds the team together with his experience, an almost glue in the middle.
Unfortunately for the Bradford Bulls, Featherstone poached full-back Brandon Pickersgill, an excellent young prospect and one for the future, the thought of Super League rugby prised him away from his hometown club and is an excellent signing. These are just some of the Featherstone signings, there are many more, but these are the ones that stood out the most.
— Betfred Challenge Cup (@TheChallengeCup) March 26, 2022
Ryley Jacks was also prised away from the NRL, an excellent young talent and I imagine on a high salary with Featherstone cash injection. The people behind the scenes also filled Jacks’ fridge with food on his arrival he said in an interview, which I thought was a nice touch.
With the combination of Brian McDermott, past Super League winners and NRL finalists, Featherstone could very well go through the Championship unbeaten. After a hard-fought loss in the Challenge Cup to the Catalan Dragons, there is no reason why they can’t return to their winning ways next week.
Money obviously changes a club, and in Featherstone’s case for the better. They will no doubt in my mind be the champions of the championship. I like the behind the scenes work of Featherstone, as with money usually comes corruption, much like with what happened with the Wolfpack, they didn’t put fans and players first. Unlike the Rovers.
Money for good? – yes, I believe so.