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DUFFY "THEY WERE ABSOLUTELY PHENOMENAL”

FEATHERSTONE Rovers head coach John Duffy has stressed how important it was for his team to lift the Championship Shield in front of their own supporters.

Rovers completed their Championship Shield campaign with a perfect record, thanks to a 42-10 victory over Leigh Centurions in the final, at the LD Nutrition Stadium.

Duffy said: “It’s good to finish the season with a positive, after not getting the top four.

“We’re still gutted about that, but I’m just glad we brought something to the fans.

“We said that over the last few weeks and they were absolutely phenomenal.”

Featherstone captain Ian Hardman ended a decade at the club, by lifting the Championship Shield at the end of Sunday’s match.

Duffy said: “He’s been an absolutely phenomenal captain and player for this club.

“He’s broken records, but not only that, he’s a champion bloke.

“Whoever he meets, everyone says that about him and you can’t go wrong if you’re that.

“I wish him all the best in the future. He’s been an absolute star.”

He added: “I thought he led from the front. I thought he was tough like he always is and he turned up when he needed to.

“He was all over the park for us. On our goal-line as well, I thought he was absolutely superb.”

Muizz Mustapha, James Barraclough, and Tyler Dupree all made their Rovers debuts in the final.

Duffy offered his assessment on the performances of the Leeds Rhinos academy stars.

“They’ve been absolutely fantastic all week,” he said.

“We know them and I just want to say thanks to Rob Burrow, who kindly got on the phone and offered us these players to put in our squad this week.

“I think you can tell, each one of them’s gonna be a superstar, along with Harry (Newman), who we know about and who was again, unbelievable for us.

“I had a good chat with Harry about his running lines at half-time and wow, he was outstanding.

“Their attitudes and the way they approach training is obviously Super League standard and more.

“I wish them all the best for the future and hopefully they can come back to Fev a few times next season.”

Duffy is now set to start his European Championship campaign as joint head coach of Scotland.

The Bravehearts will host Wales in Galashiels and face overseas trips to take on France and Ireland.

Duffy said: “Featherstone comes first. It’s time to reflect now and evaluate myself as a coach, and the staff and the players.

“We’ve signed some great players for next season, so we’ll look ahead to that.”

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