Halifax coach Karl Harrison has described Thursday night’s play-off rivals Keighley as “extremely dangerous” opponents.
The Cougars finished sixth on the league ladder, although they were nine points shy of fifth-placed Batley with only eight wins from 18 starts.
But with player-coach Jason Demetriou returning home to Australia at the end of this season, and a clutch of former Fax players in their ranks, Harrison warned against any complacency.
“The league table does say they are not at the same level as the other five teams in the play offs,” said Harrison.
“But we’ve had two tricky games against them already this year and we know they can be extremely dangerous.
“They’ve got some big game players in Demetriou, Sam Obst, Semi Tadulala and so on, and they’ve also got a few guys with points to prove because they feel they should still be wearing the blue and white.
“We’ve given ourselves a significant advantage by finishing third, but we’d be kidding ourselves if we thought this was an easier game in any way at all.”
The Cougars were comprehensively beaten by table toppers Featherstone last weekend, but Harrison says no-one should read too much into that result.
“They’ve known they’d be finishing sixth whatever happened for a few weeks now, and they’ve known it would be likely they’d be playing us or Batley,” said Harrison, who likened the situation to his own side’s build up to July’s Northern Rail Cup win over Featherstone.
“It’s not dissimilar to the NRC. We had a specific plan for that game that we rehearsed in the two or three matches running up to it and it worked for us.
“I expect Keighley to come with a similar approach; they’ll want to slow us down as much as they can and it’s up to us not to let them.
“It’s sudden-death rugby league and we don’t have any margin for error.”