Boss philosophical as Manning’s Batley move completed

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Back rower Dane Manning has completed his expected move to Batley after refusing to accept the wage cut offered as part of Halifax’s close-season cost cutting.

Manning’s recruitment was initially, and prematurely, trumpeted by the Bulldogs more than a week ago, but finally became a done deal over the weekend, with the Mount Pleasant club forking out an “undisclosed fee” for their former player.

Halifax coach Richard Marshall was philosophical over the loss of arguably his most consistent performer, although he played down suggestions Manning’s desire to leave was purely financial.

“I’ve spoken to him a few times and I honestly don’t think it was just about money,” said Marshall.

“I think he could probably have gone elsewhere and earned more; Batley is close to his home and that was a factor too.

“He’s been a fine player for us, he’s never given less than 100 per cent, but we’ll move on.

“It’s always the same, a player leaves and it presents an opportunity for someone else.”

If Marshall has a fully fit squad at his disposal, the task of filling the gap left by Manning’s departure is unlikely to be too onerous, with new recruit Shane Grady and former Warrington star Simon Grix pencilled in for the back row spots.

But Manning’s departure does impact on Fax’s strength in depth, especially with rumours continuing to circulate about the future of close-season signing Matt Haggerty.

No official announcement has yet been made, but Haggerty, the former St Helens prop, is tipped to walk away from the professional game due to business commitments.

Fax are likely to turn to a dual-registration agreement to fill that gap, although any partnership would have to be more productive than the one with now-relegated Hull KR which provided just two players - Connor Robinson, who later signed a permanent deal at the Shay, and forward Jordan Cox - during the 2015 season.