HALIFAX boss Matt Calland’s ruthlessness paid dividends last night as the Co-operative Championship champions hammered Whitehaven 60-6 to book their place in the quarter finals of the Northern Rail Cup.
Calland axed seven players in the wake of Saturday night’s loss in Toulouse and was rewarded with the best attacking performance of the year.
Wingers Paul White and Rob Worrincy, hooker Sean Penkywicz and young back rower Joe Chandler all scored twice, with half back Danny Jones kicking a perfect 10 from 10.
“I suppose you could say it was a gamble, but we have a strong squad and that will be the story of our success this year,” said Calland, who is now waiting for the draw, which will be made at half time in next Thursday’s Shay clash between Fax and Featherstone.
“We have a lot of strength in depth and if players don’t perform, they will lose their jersey. I reminded them of that and they know they have to be on their toes.
“I thought Chandler did pretty well and Ryan Fieldhouse looked slick at the back.
“It was just a much better night all round.”
It was his side’s approach that pleased Calland the most though, as they raced to a 30-6 half time lead before finishing the job in the second half.
“The attitude and the desire were great,” said Calland. “There was a total lack of both those things in Toulouse.
“I can handle getting beaten by a better team, but what I can’t handle is not having the enthusiasm to compete.
“We looked like we wanted it more than them, which was what I wanted. We are not going to get carried away, but in those conditions and on that pitch we played some really good rugby.”
Centres Lee Paterson and Jon Goddard both made successful returns from injury – Goddard playing his first game for seven months after snapping his Achilles tendon last summer – although both were withdrawn before the end.
“Jon could feel his Achilles stiffening at half time and both him and Paterson came off as a precaution,” said Calland.
HALIFAX’S second string will be bolstered by the inclusion of veteran stand off Graham Holroyd for tonight’s league fixture at Dewsbury (7.30).
The former Leeds and Salford playmaker will start the game, with full back Miles Greenwood and prop Josh Barlow also included.