This time last year there was a lot of excitement around Featherstone Rovers and rightly so.
They made some huge signings from the NRL like Joey Leilua and brought in Super League’s most successful coach ever in ex-Leeds Rhinos boss Brian McDermott.
They were expected to have a real battle with Leigh Centurions, now Leigh Leopards, for promotion but in the end Leigh pulled away beating Featherstone in the 1895 Cup Final at the Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium to add insult to injury.
Now, they have looked in a different direction appointing ex-St Helens star Sean Long in his first head coach role and in the eyes of CEO Martin Vickers, Long is a far better fit for Featherstone as he opened up on what wrong under Brian McDermott in 2022.
“Things were never quite right last year, we can look statistically at a strong record, we didn’t lose too many games, but there was still something missing in the bigger games, we got badly exposed against Leigh, a very good side,” Vickers said to BBC Sport West Yorkshire.
“We got beat by Batley twice on our own pitch and we have been searching for that last 10% particularly with our new appointment, no disrespect to Brian, he tried, but Sean is somebody who we worked with right at the start of his coaching career and what struck me then was his work ethic, his enthusiasm, he’s got a real big personal drive.
“To be honest, I have to say now having worked with him for a few months, he’s probably a better fit for Featherstone.
“He’s very well liked by supporters, he’s what you see is what you get.
“He’s been a real lift, not just to fans, but to people around the club because he has this relentless enthusiasm.”