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Sean Long’s warning for Championship rivals

Last night Featherstone Rovers laid down a marker with a thumping win over Keighley Cougars.

It was the dawn of a new era with new coach Sean Long at the helm alongside assistant and former St Helens teammate Leon Pryce.

Pryce, a common commentator on Viaplay, spoke during their coverage about just how nerve wracking it was: “It was a bit nerve wracking really, we knew it would be a tough game with Keighley making a lot of signings and being right up for this having gained promotion last year. It were a tough test but I thought the boys all did really well.”

Meanwhile, Long warned that the Rovers can only get better: “All the standards that we set in pre-season I thought we went out there and met, that was the bench mark for us and we can only get higher now. To keep them to zero was the main thing in the second half, going with a big fat zero at the end of the game was our goal.

“We played some good rugby, sometimes it wasn’t pretty it was just sheer brute force but we got the win and that’s the main thing.

Long was pleased with the performance of Warrington Wolves halfback Riley Dean who impressed in his first competitive game on loan with the Rovers: “He plays with really good tempo, dead composed, big lad, can hang in defence as well but a really level-headed player. I thought he got us around the park, we talked about composure pre-game as it had let us down during pre-season and I thought he was the main one who did that today.”

Long also spoke about his tactics: “We played from different points of the field, sometimes their pack getting pounded in the middle it sucks them in. So then it’s not the structured play, it’s actually just play to space then. It’s all about playing eyes-up footy and that second half we were just pinging it one side to another.”

Meanwhile, new signing McKenzie Yei impressed off the bench and Long thought so too: “Coming off the bench suits him and if I were playing alongside him I’d be sticking around him for the offloads.”

Long’s opposite number meanwhile described the defeat as a “rude awakening”: “What we saw was a top quality team, they went through the gears and showed the quality you expect from Featherstone.

“It was a rude awakening but we’ll go again on Sunday.

“There were quite a few signs of nerves, they’ll learn. They’re fast learners and they’re going to have to be.”

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