When former Leeds Rhinos assistant Sean Long announced his first Featherstone Rovers squad as the club prepares for a clash with rivals Castleford Tigers tomorrow, there were some notable absentees.
Amongst them was star signing and former Salford Red Devils captain Elijah Taylor.
The experienced forward who was played in World Cups and in the biggest games down under misses out with a hamstring injury but Long said it was nothing to worry about on the club’s Twitter account.
“He’s pulled up with a slight hamstring injury,” Long said, “I didn’t want to risk him at all. We’re thinking long term. He’s a season professional, he’s very professional. We’re focusing on the start of the season, as long as they’re fit for that game I’m okay.”
Other than this, Long has been pleased with pre-season:
“It has gone really well, we have had five or six weeks of really hard training building into it really well.
“We have put some systems together and building some new combinations getting our attacking systems together. Boys are really enjoying it, they had some time over Christmas. We’ve just done captain’s run now and they’re looking forward to the game tomorrow.”
In terms of his expectations for tomorrow, this is what he wants:
“I’m expecting hard work, a lot of hard work. It’s not going to be plain sailing in the first trial game I don’t think.
“We have only done team on team once, we’re just looking forward to our combinations getting better, six, seven, nine and one. We just want a bit of continuity and cohesion in that.
“Once we get that, we’ll be fine.
“Like I say, I’m not expecting it to be perfect tomorrow. It’ll be a good game.”