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Rugby League: Fearsome Fev for Ford fiesta.

FOCUS on Featherstone in the Northern Ford Premiership, which starts tomorrow.

Last season's beaten Grand Finalists finished the 1998 programme like a train and have added former Super League stars Brendon Tuuta (from Warrington and back at Rovers for a second spell) and Hitro Okesene (from Hull) to their squad which qualified for the fourth round of the Silk Cut Challenge Cup by thrashing Bradford amateurs Thornhill 70-6 at the Lionheart Stadium, Post Office Road last week.

Steve Sims, the madcap Australian coach who has regularly sat alongside BBC TV commentator Ray French, is no longer calling the shots.

That is a shame because Sims, successful at Halifax before moving east across the West Yorkshire county, did a grand job in the second half of last season for Rovers.

Featherstone won six games on the trot towards the end of last term, including a 54-6 demolition of Hull KR at New Craven Park, to claim fourth spot in the league table and reach the inaugural First Division Grand Final at the Alfred McAlpine Stadium.

Rovers were unlucky to lose 24-22 to Wakefield, who have since exercised their legal right to play in this season's Super League IV competition.

With place-kicking hooker Richard Chapman a worthy recipient of the Tom Bergin Trophy for the Grand Final's man of the match, Featherstone led 22-18 late on.

The turning point came seven minutes from time when Rovers wing Karl Pratt had a try disallowed. Trinity, winner of the regular-season tournament, then scored and converted a try to win.

New Featherstone coach Kevin Hobbs has lost Pratt (to Leeds), Ty Fallins and Danny Baker (both back in Australia), Shaun Irwin (Hunslet), Steve Collins (Gateshead), Gary Price (Wakefield) and Lee Childs (Batley).

Meanwhile, Matt Bramald (from Dewsbury), Martin Law and Ryan Horsley (from Wakefield), Tuuta and Okesene have settled in at Post Office Road, formerly home to St Helens centre Paul Newlove, but whose younger brother Richard is still on the staff.
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Worwood, Mark
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Feb 6, 1999
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