“A big signing for British rugby league” – Brian McDermott gives verdict on Featherstone Rovers’ transfer business

Featherstone’s transfer business could rival the very best in Super League this year.

Not only have they signed former NRL Grand Finalist Joey Leilua, but on Wednesday they confirmed the arrival of a further three fantastic signings including Ryley Jacks and Ben Mathiou as well as two-time Super League Champion Adam Cuthbertson.

Add that to other savvy signings like Luke Briscoe from Leeds who did no wrong for the Rhinos last term, and the Rovers have simply built on an already fantastic squad.

Clearly one of the frontrunners for promotion based on the back of this fantastic business, Brian McDermott identified the role these new recruits will play this season: “In terms of the signings, we’ve got Joey Leilua on board which I think is a massive signing for us, and a big signing for British rugby league. He sees this as a project as do I and everyone at the club and he’s ready to give it a good shot.

“Ben Mathiou comes with great wraps and will blend into the squad and Ryley Jacks is another great edition to the squad and a leading halfback.”

He also noted just how much competition there will be within his squad in 2022 as well as the importance of maintaining a healthy atmosphere within this competition for places: “What it does is it makes it really uncomfortable for everyone in the squad about getting a shirt. You have a squad you have some obvious choices to play in the front row, or the halfbacks or the outside backs, we don’t have obvious choices. I’ll have some difficult conversations, they’ll be some established players who won’t be in the team.

“My job is to get promoted, to have the best team in the Championship and be in charge of the best team in the Championship and that’s to do with coaching and to do with the resources that get put into it and absolutely to do with recruitment. We have a single objective here and that’s to get promoted.

“These signings are going to enhance the squad and it’ll make the squad really competitive. As long as it’s a healthy competitive squad – and that’s my job to make sure it doesn’t become bad natured – then I think we’re in great shape.”

When asked whether he thinks his squad is already Super League calibre, McDermott simply said: “I think if we got into Super League I’d have to make some tough calls.”

He also addressed whether the Rovers will do any further business in the transfer market: “We’re not actively searching right now but we’re fluid.”

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