Halifax RLFC: Boss Matt ponders half back strength

HALIFAX coach Matt Calland confirmed he could be in the market for another playmaker in the wake of yesterday's 26-24 pre-season loss to Super League high flyers Hull KR.

Fax eventually went down to a last-play try from former Wigan winger Liam Colbon in front of a crowd of 2,000 at the Shay, with Rovers fielding nine fully-fledged members of Justin Morgan's first team squad.

Calland's pre-match plans were disrupted by the late withdrawal of stand off Anthony Bowman, forcing Sean Penkywicz to move to stand off - trialist Danny Moran, who featured in last summer's Carnegie Nines, started at hooker - and full back Miles Greenwood to take a share of the playmaking duties.

And with Ben Black (shoulder) and Bob Beswick (elbow) still waiting for comeback dates, Fax suddenly looked short of attacking options.

"There was a big disruption because Bowman pulled out on the day of the game, which meant moving people about, and under the circumstances I thought we did pretty well," said Calland, who also fielded young Fijian wing Setareki Talatoka, who like Moran, is one of his proteges from his day job at Hopwood College's rugby league academy.

"It's a place where we are weak in terms of numbers at the moment, especially with Ben having a bad shoulder.

"Could we bring someone in? Possibly.

"We are always on the lookout. If I see a pivot I think can strengthen the team, then we'll consider it."

Otherwise Calland was understandably upbeat after a positive afternoon's work on the field.

"We asked the boys for a big improvement and they delivered it," he said.

"We were a bit scratchy at times, but it was certainly a step in the right direction.

"I thought the defence was a lot better, even though they cut us up a bit down the middle at times.

"I was really impressed with Sam Barlow, and I thought he was unlucky not to be awarded a second try in the second half.

"I thought the ball was on the line, but that's the way it goes.

"Overall, I thought there were quite a few of our players who didn't look out of place out there.

"I'm just hoping we can get to Super League so they get their chance.

"The try at the end was not the end of the world, even though you want to win. It was only a friendly, after all, and we got plenty out of that."