‘Bag of nerves’ Johnathon Ford set for starring 1895 Cup final role

Johnathon Ford Featherstone Rovers 1895 Cup

Johnathon Ford says his debut for Championship leaders Featherstone is up there with the most nervous he has ever been playing rugby league.

The Cook Islands international came off the bench before half-time as Rovers strengthened their position at the top of the table with a thumping 78-0 home win over Whitehaven.

The former Toulouse playmaker had stints at left centre and stand-off as coach Brian McDermott rotated his squad ahead of next Saturday’s 1895 Cup Final against Leigh.

It was Ford’s first appearance since last season’s Grand Final win against Featherstone for Toulouse. He only arrived in the UK with his family last week.

The 32-year-old said: “It was good, I enjoyed it. They are a good group of fans and I’m really grateful to be here.

“The week was a bit of a whirlwind – moving into a new place, getting into training, meeting all the boys, getting my head down trying to learn all the plays; and how everyone ticks. It’s been a whirlwind but I’m stoked to be here.

“It’s probably one of the most nervous moments I’ve had in my footy career for a long time. I was excited, it’s been a long time, I was really nervous – good nerves. I was excited which shows that I still want it and am still excited by playing footy.”

1895 Cup final beckons for Johnathon Ford

Ford is expected to keep his place for Saturday’s Cup final at Tottenham and could slot straight into the halves alongside in-form Ryley Jacks.

Hooker Connor Jones will be suspended. Brian McDermott could move Morgan Smith to hooker should Matty Wildie fail to recover from his rib injury. 

Ford added: “I’ve still got a lot to learn about how everyone moves about; and how the boys play and how Mac wants us to play so I’m still learning.

“It’s a good opportunity to learn something new from a new bunch of people. I’m literally just learning as much as I can; and putting my best foot forward to be in a position if called upon. I want to be ready to be ready.”

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