Featherstone Rovers are one of the most historic sides in rugby league history but in the modern game there’s one thing that’s eluded them and that’s Super League.
With Super League created in the 1990s Featherstone are yet to grace the sport’s current top table, but that’s not to say that they weren’t a force far before the Super League era with their most dominant spell coming through the 1960s to 1980s.
Rovers are now tipped by many, including the bookmakers, to make the jump and secure Super League promotion from the Championship and they’ve brought in one of the men who has lifted silverware as a Rover to inspire the current generation.
Alan Rhodes lifted the 1973 Challenge Cup with the former forward representing Featherstone from his debut in 1968 till 1975.
Head Coach, Sean Long, brought Rhodes in to speak to the current crop of players as Rovers lean on their history to inspire the history that is yet to be written for the 2023 campaign.
Sharing the video to their social media, the Rovers squad were engaged as Rhodes spoke.
“Featherstone is Featherstone, it’s very similar. Obviously there’s 3,000 more cars in the streets but we’re looking at the same terraced houses there, that were there in ’67 when I signed on. The core of Featherstone Rovers is that it’s a rugby league place,” Rhodes stated to an engrossed player group.
Rhodes also recalled the success of 1973 but primarily the talk was aimed at hammering home to the current players what Featherstone as a town and as a club is about.
🙌 The past is where you learn lessons to build your future.
1973 Challenge Cup winner, Alan Rhodes, was recently invited to @TMStadium to talk to the 2023 squad about the history, DNA and foundations on which Featherstone is built on and what the club means to the community. pic.twitter.com/JYey8IuXG4
— Featherstone Rovers (@FevRoversRLFC) January 16, 2023
Put simply it’s a type of DNA and pride and that’s something that Long tried to inspire as he showed the players historic footage of both the town and the rugby league team.
Long told the players: “It’s about understanding what it’s about as a club, what it means about the town, the bit of history there that Alan just touched on and where we come from.
“We’re f***ing hard workers, we’re grafters. They went down the f***ing pits and turned up and won the Challenge Cup final in 1973. No one handed them it on a silver platter, they had to work hard for it.”
The brief and blunt speech to surmise from Long echoed similar points to those he made upon the start of pre-season when he took over, as reported here.
The current crop of players, with Rhodes’ words still ringing true in their mind, will kick off their promotion push away to Keighley Cougars on Monday 6th February in a hotly anticipated matchup.