Exclusive: Brett Ferres to enter staggering 20th professional season following retirement U-turn as ex-England international prepares for play-off final

Josh McAllister
Brett Ferres in action for Featherstone back in January 2022.

Brett Ferres in action for Featherstone Rovers in 2022 - Alamy

Former England international Brett Ferres admits he is ready to continue his playing career into its 20th campaign in 2024 following a stellar debut year in League 1.

The ex-Leeds, Huddersfield and Castleford back-rower will feature in Sunday’s play-off final for Doncaster against North Wales Crusaders for a spot in the Championship ahead of IMG’s new vision for the sport.

Ferres, 37, joined Richard Horne’s outfit ahead of 2023 on a one-year contract following his exit from Featherstone Rovers, and has enjoyed an ever-present League 1 campaign.

He has missed just one game all year for Doncaster – a Challenge Cup tie with London Broncos. And having previously admitted 2023 could be his last, the veteran forward, with close to 400 career appearances, is ready to go around again next season.

“I can’t speak highly enough of the club,” Ferres told Love Rugby League.

“I’ve really enjoyed it. I knew I had plenty more to give and I’ve missed just one game all year which was a Challenge Cup game that was quite early on.

“I’ve put some decent minutes in and I’ve really enjoyed it as well. It’s been nice to go to a club that’s appreciative of what you’re doing and where you’ve been and they want to tap into that. It’s a fantastic group who want to get to that next stage.

“Hopefully when this season is completed, there’s conversations to be had about next year and we’ll go from there.

“I’ve spoken to Doncaster about staying and there’s been a couple of clubs that have asked about where I see myself and where I’m at for next year.

“I still want to play, whether that’s Championship or League 1. I feel good, so it’s nice to be able to do it. As long as my body can do it, I’m going to keep going.

“Hopefully I’ll have a testimonial coming up soon too, so that’s something else to look forward to.”

Doncaster prepare for League 1 play-off final

Doncaster finished the regular campaign in third position on the League 1 table, with Dewsbury Rams earning promotion on the first time of asking under Liam Finn and Hunslet claiming second spot.

The side defeated Oldham 36-0 in the first week of the play-offs, before booking their place in the final following a 26-14 win at the South Leeds Stadium over Hunslet.

Ferres and his team-mates will meet North Wales Crusaders on Sunday at the Eco-Power Stadium with a 3:00pm kick-off, with the 17-capped England international predicting a bright future for the club.

“I’m glad I stuck with my decision and went to Doncaster,” Ferres continued.

“I had conversations with Carl [Hall, CEO] and Richard Horne and what they said about the club has all been true.

“Now we’ve put ourselves in a really good position to make the step up. It’ll be a tough game but it’s certainly been a good season so far and that would be the icing on the cake.

“They’ve [Doncaster] gone under the radar a lot. When I was in Super League and for England games, we’ve been based in Doncaster. It’s a brilliant facility.

“There’s a decent fanbase for where we are and hopefully now we’re making a little bit more noise with what we’ve done this year and if everything goes to plan we can keep growing those numbers and the club.

“I think it’s a bit of a favourite for a lot of people and a second or third sort of club.”

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