Halifax’s unbeaten start to the Championship season continued with a patchy but comfortable 34-22 win over Swinton at the Shay.
Victory never looked in doubt, not even when the Lions - who included just two dual-registered Warrington players, centre Rhys Williams and prop James Laithwaite - led 6-0 early on, but while Fax showed glimpses of their undoubted potential this was an occasionally frustating 80 minutes.
In sub-zero temperatures, and on a pitch that does nothing to encourage flowing rugby league in its current condition, there was some class - typified by Anthony Thackeray’s blistering second half touchdown - but also enough fumbling to underline that Karl Harrison’s 2013 side remains a work in progress.
Fax made an appalling start, conceding a try to young centre Ryan Shaw inside the opening minute, the former Warrington player landing the kick from the sideline.
Fax continued to mix the good - the impressive Scott Murrell’s kick almost yielding a try for Thackeray - with some mistimed passes and sluggish defence.
They finally got the breakthrough they needed, for their confidence as much as anything, when Ryan Fieldhouse flicked the ball out to Rob Worrincy on the right and the winger finished low and fast by the corner flag.
Lee Paterson’s conversion attempt drifted wide, and the home side fell further behind when Swinton stand off Martin Ainscough dodged his way over at the other end.
Trailing 10-4, Fax should have been level when Thackeray put in a kick on the right, only for the new centre/wing combination of Paterson and Rikki Sheriffe to leave the ball to each other and the chance went begging.
The introduction of Sam Barlow brought instant impact, the giant forward charging over by the posts from a Paul Handforth pass and Paterson levelling the scores after 22 minutes.
Fax finally hit the front when Fieldhouse, Sheriffe and Paterson combined to make ground, Swinton substitute Chaz I’Anson was sin-binned for holding down and Paterson rounded off some fluent attack with a try in the left corner.
The centre kicked a brilliant conversion and half time came and went with the home side leading 16-10.
The third quarter of the game was Fax’s best; Fieldhouse scoring from Murrell’s reverse chip kick, substitute Ben Heaton scoring from a Handforth bomb and Thackeray arriving late in midfield to crown a super attack involving Handforth, Tony Tonks, Fieldhouse and Barlow.
In between, Ian Watson scurried in to score for the Lions, who dominated possession in the final quarter, adding a late try from the prop Jack Morrison to claim a bonus point.
Halifax: Fieldhouse; Worrincy, Paterson, Bowman, Sheriffe; Handforth, Murrell; Tonks, Thackeray, Ambler, Manning, Casey, C. Ashall. Subs: K. Ashall, Robinson, Heaton, Barlow
Swinton: R. Hawkyard; Penny, Shaw, Williams, Ormsby; Ainscough, Watson; Morrison, Smith, Holland, D. Hawkyard, Bridge, Hulme. Subs: Mills, I’Anson, Laithwaite, Barlow
Referee: M. Thomason