Fax announce Saltonstall signing and confirm arrival of Aussie Cahalane

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Halifax have signed the highly-rated Warrington and England Academy threequarter James Saltonstall.

The former Siddal junior joins his hometown club on a two year deal after negotiating a release from his deal with the Wolves.

Fax have also confirmed the rumoured recruitment of Australian forward Mitch Cahalane from NSW Cup side Mounties, who will join teammates Adam Tangata and Matt Place at the Shay in 2015.

Saltonstall began last season on loan at Bradford Bulls before moving on loan to York.

A string of impressive performances there earned him a share of the Championship One Young Player of the Year gong with Knights teammate Ben Reynolds at Tuesday night’s awards bash as well as a place in the competition’s All Star selection as a winger.

“James’ signing was already in the pipeline before I arrived, but he’s a player I would certainly have looked at and spoken to anyway,” said new Fax coach Richard Marshall.

“I coached him at Warrington in the under 20s team that made the Grand Final a couple of years ago, so I know where he’s strong and where he still needs to improve.

“He’s obviously had a very good year with York at Championship One level, and earned himself some personal accolades, and the challenge for him now is to take that form into the Championship.

“The fact he’s a local lad, who wants to play for his hometown club, is a bonus for us.”

Saltonstall’s ability to operate anywhere in the backline is a particular plus for Marshall, who pinpointed finding week-to-week consistency as the biggest challenge facing the 20 year old.

“James has utility value, which is a luxury for us; he’s good at centre, full back or wing,” said Marshall.

“Primarily, he’s a very strong runner of the ball who will always return kicks with interest.

“The challenge for him is to produce his best form consistently, because there were games in the under 20s where he was the stand-out player on the field.”

The deals for Place, Tangata and Cahalane were already concluded by the time Marshall replaced the outgoing Karl Harrison, with the new boss admitting they were unknown quantities.

“I don’t know anything about them at the moment, but I’ll be doing some homework on them,” said Marshall.

“But the NSW Cup competition is a good standard of rugby league.”