Championship play-off final: Featherstone ‘a Super League club in waiting’, says chief executive Martin Vickers


Featherstone Rovers
Featherstone Rovers won the 1895 Cup final at Wembley earlier this season
Venue: Stade Ernest Wallon Date: Sunday, 10 October Kick-off: 18:00 BST

Featherstone winning promotion would give Super League “a shot in the arm”, says chief executive Martin Vickers.

Fev take on Toulouse in the Championship play-off final on Sunday, with both teams looking to reach Super League for the first time.

“Forget the Million Pound Game, this is worth £2m for us,” Vickers told BBC Radio Leeds.

“It’s a massive game for the club and I really hope we can get there because I see this as a Super League club.”

He added: “We have a fervent support that would probably double if we went up and I think Super League needs that shot in the arm at the moment.

“Our gates have increased post-Covid and we take a large travelling crowd everywhere we go. I genuinely think Featherstone would make a difference and would inject some passion and momentum into the league.

“I think Super League needs a fresh newcomer, not that Toulouse aren’t a good club, but I can speak for this club and we would love to take our opportunity.”

Rovers and Toulouse were the stand-out sides in the second tier during the regular season, with the French club winning all 14 of the matches they played and Fev losing just one of their 21 games.

Vickers held a similar position at Toronto Wolfpack for their Million Pound Game defeat by London Broncos in 2018 and victory over Featherstone two years ago.

He says the West Yorkshire side are in a stronger place now than the Canadian outfit, who had to pull out of Super League in July 2020 citing financial problems posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, were then.

“I feel Featherstone have improved and added more quality,” said Vickers.

“I remember being very nervous after 60 minutes in that game against Featherstone two years ago and the fact that Toronto pulled away at the end of that game will have been a real learning curve for those players.

“They’ve added quality players like Brett Ferres and Fa’amanu Brown so I knew when I came here that this was a better team than played Toronto, and they have a first-class coach with a team ethos that is stronger than any I have been associated with.”

A vintage year for French rugby league?

Toulouse
Toulouse finished top of the Championship on points-per-game

Promotion to Super League would cap off a five-year journey for Toulouse since they rejoined the English league system for the 2016 season.

They earned promotion to the Championship in their first campaign and are now just 80 minutes from playing in Super League for the first time in their history.

The French side were only able to play 14 league matches in the regular season but won all of them, including a 23-6 success over Sunday’s opponents in August.

With Catalans Dragons looking to secure their first Grand Final win when they take on St Helens on Saturday, this could be a golden weekend for French rugby league.



BBC News