Returning in 2021 with unfinished business are the Featherstone Rovers, with promotion to Super League slipping through their fingers more than once.
James Webster’s squad is aiming to go one better as we take a look at how they may line-up.
Full-back: Craig Hall
With over 1500 career points to his name, Craig Hall is an obvious choice at full-back. The 33-year-old has also shown creativity in attack as well as the ability to adapt, making him an exciting and unpredictable opponent.
Wingers: Ben Blackmore & Gareth Gale
After fours at Sheffield Eagles, Ben Blackmore is now in his second spell with Featherstone, having scored over 70 tries for both side. He certainly knows his way over that line. Gale returns for his second chance at the club and could very well produce his best rugby under Webster.
Centres: Kris Welham & Josh Hardcastle
15 years interspersed between Hull Kingston Rovers, Bradford Bulls and Salford Red Devils, Kris Welham, with all his experience, is an easy selection. Josh Hardcastle is entering his fifth year with the club, having been one of their consistent performers throughout that period so far.
Stand-off: Tom Holmes
Showing bouts of quality for Castleford Tigers and Huddersfield Giants, Tom Holmes returns for his second go with Featherstone. The 24-year-old is ‘nippy’, has a good kicking game and is a fluent support player – a welcome return for the club.
Scrum-half: Dane Chisholm
Club character Dane Chisholm eases in at scrum-half. His speed and ingenuity have seen him lead by example as he sets his sight on Super League, something he boldly admitted Featherstone are ready for even now.
Props: Craig Kopczak & James Harrison
Welsh international Craig Kopczak is an easy choice. The 34-year-old has had successful stints at Bradford, Huddersfield, Salford and Wakefield, whilst his sheer power alone will make Featherstone difficult to handle. James Harrison is set for his third year at the club. Scoring over double figures in tries already, Harrison has proved to be a reliable player and could devastate defensive lines alongside Kopczak.
Hooker: Mr. Brown
This can be considered a coup by Featherstone. Samoan international Fa’amanu Brown previously won Canterbury Cup player of the year back in 2019 and could easily utilise his trade here to get the club their long awaited promotion.
Second-row: Brett Ferres & Brad Day
Still going at 34, Brett Ferres has spent his entire career in West Yorkshire, even playing for England over a dozen times. Brad Day has scored over 30 tries in just over 100 appearances between Featherstone and previous club Batley Bulldogs, an advantage for any given back-row forward.
Loose-forward: James Lockwood
All set for his tenth season with the club, James Lockwood has been one of their most consistent performers. Not forgetting his role as club captain, his leadership will be crucial in their goal towards promotion and beyond.
Able to relieve Brown at hooker, Dean Parata can add refreshing energy to the team. His quick thinking from acting half has helped him achieve international recognition for Italy in the past after all.
All set for his 15th season as a professional, Dale Ferguson is a consistent support player, especially going forward. His experience will help with his impact off the bench, or even in the starting line up if required.
Another ‘old one’ but still going quite strong is Junior Moors. His time at Castleford was suddenly halted last year, but the Samoan international will prove difficult for opponents in the Championship as he aims to go out on a high.
Offering a bit of ‘youth’ as well as ‘go forward’ in the middle will be Luke Cooper. The 26-year-old has been at the club for over six years and, having won over the fans and coaching staff, he could be set for his strongest season yet for the club.