Hankinson Back In His Element As Featherstone Push For Promotion To Super League

The centre is one of a number of additions as Fev aim for the second-tier title
10:00, 11 Feb 2023

Chris Hankinson says it’s great to be back among the creature comforts after a year playing in the south of France, and the home bird has got off to a flying start with Featherstone Rovers.

The centre’s brilliant flick-pass assist for Gareth Gale’s early try set up a commanding 50-0 win over Keighley Cougars in Rovers’ opening game of the Betfred Championship season. And the Wiganer says he’s revelling in being back in the UK and with a thriving club after suffering relegation from Super League with Toulouse Olympique in 2022.


“It’s been good, coming back and adjusting to settling back home in Wigan. I’ve got my family, my missus and my dog – the dog was the main part! – so it’s been good to settle back in and get used to it,” Hankinson tells The Sportsman.

“There’s a feel-good factor at the club at the moment. Obviously they’ve recruited pretty well, they’ve brought some good players in and there’s a really good buzz about the place. But there’s a long year yet, so anything could happen so it’s just a case of keeping everybody happy.”

Hankinson was one of the star additions to the Fev squad in the off-season, and he knows that his Super League experience from his four years with Wigan and last term at Toulouse will be important in the make-up of Sean Long’s squad over the coming months.

“It’s the standards which is a big thing, that’s what I really pride myself on, I try to keep them high,” he adds. “I know what this league has to offer, obviously I know what Super League has to offer too, and it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot but there’s a big difference in how people go about their business.

“When I first went to Featherstone I had a good chat with Longy and he showed me his ambition for the club: what he wanted, what he strived for… his end game. So I’m really excited to play under him.”

And the 29-year-old has no problem with the attention that Featherstone are under as the evens favourites to win the Championship Grand Final in October.

“I think we’re going to be put under the microscope a bit but, at the same time, it’s a long year. It all comes down to one game, so I think it’s important to make sure we’re peaking at the right time and there’s a strong belief between the lads. There’s a good bond at Featherstone, which is a good thing, the craic’s great.

“Everyone’s going to be looking to hit us, but they always are. I’ve played against Featherstone in the past and wanted to knock them off.

“Even playing against Featherstone, and knowing lads who have played with them, they’ve always said the boys are very good together and it’s a close-knit group which is good to be part of now.”

Featherstone’s home campaign gets underway on Sunday at 4pm, when they welcome Halifax Panthers to the Millennium Stadium.


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