HALIFAX’S teenage stand off Anthony Bowman has admitted a close-season ultimatum from new boss Karl Harrison has been a major factor in his flying start to 2012.
The 19 year old playmaker turned in what Harrison described as a “fantastic” performance in last weekend’s Northern Rail Cup win at Dewsbury after being preferred to high-profile recruit Anthony Thackeray in the starting 13.
It is a far cry from 12 months ago, when Bowman’s future at the club looked in doubt after a much-publicised disciplinary.
“I think everyone knows the problems I had last year,” said the ex-Siddal junior, the younger brother of the club’s former back rower Andy.
“I took a step back, recognised this was an important season for me and knuckled down.
“Karl has helped me do that more than anyone.
“I knew from the beginning of pre-season that there was a lot of competition there, with Thackeray, Paul Handforth and Callum Casey.
“Karl basically said ‘Work hard in training, or you’re not in’, so that’s what I did.
“He’s shown faith in me and that’s given me a confidence boost as much as anything.
“Everyone knows what Thacks can do, so to get in the side ahead of him was a plus for me.
“I think I went alright against Dewsbury so hopefully I can kick on and play against Rochdale.”
Bowman seems certain to figure against the Hornets on Sunday as Fax go in search of back-to-back victories.
And he made it clear the focus will be on improving on aspects of the 36-6 success at Rams Stadium.
“I was reasonably happy with my performance last week and the rest of the boys played well,” said Bowman.
“It’s a lot easier for me when the forwards play like they did at the weekend; it gives you a lot more space to work with.
“There is still a lot of improvement to be made, but it was a good start.
“We knew from the Huddersfield friendly a couple of weeks earlier that we needed to improve massively, even though we put up a big score that day.
“We were just glad to go to Dewsbury and leave with the win because it is not an easy venue.”
HALIFAX’S under 23 side play their second pre-season fixture against Featherstone at Post Office Road tonight (8.0).
Head coach Karl Harrison told Courier Sport earlier this week that he expected threequarter Lee Paterson, who has been sidelined for six months after undergoing a knee reconstruction, to play at least some part in the game.
Scotland forward Sam Barlow, who is nearing the end of a three month absence after ankle surgery, could also figure.