Halifax back rower Shane Grady said the challenge of playing opposite Dane Manning helped drive him towards one of his best performances since arriving at the Shay last winter.
Grady was in outstanding form as Fax downed Batley 40-22, eclipsing the ever-consistent Manning - who quit the club before Christmas after refusing to take the 10 per cent pay cut accepted by his teammates - as Richard Marshall’s side opened up a six point gap over the Bulldogs on the Championship ladder.
“The last three years, when I was at Dewsbury and Dane was here, we have had some good battles,” admitted Grady, who will make his return to Rams Stadium this weekend for Sunday’s league clash with Neil Kelly’s side (3.0).
“When you’re playing someone as tough as him, who plays at 100 per cent every week, you know you need to be on your game.
“If you don’t play really well yourself, you know he’s going to put you in his back pocket.
“It was probably up there with the best games I’ve had since I came here, but it always helps when the team is playing well as a whole and being dominant.
“That helps you have good games individually.
“Batley are a good side, and they could go on a big run themselves yet, but we’ve given ourselves a six point buffer now.
“All we can do is concentrate on ourselves and keep winning and beating those teams around us.
“All the boys were devastated after game at Batley in round two when we ended up well beaten; I didn’t play that day but just being around them everyone was really down.
“I think it was in the back of everyone’s mind going into Sunday’s game.
“We did a lot of work on their forwards because that’s where a lot of their threat comes from and we tied them up pretty well.”
There have been plenty of changes at Dewsbury since Fax beat a month ago, not least the arrival of Kelly, the veteran coach returning to rugby league after a lengthy sabbatical.
“I’m excited to be going back there this weekend, I had three good years there and I’ll be playing against a lot of my mates,” said Grady.
“I’m a Widnes lad and I was there when Neil took Widnes up to Super League; everyone over there loves him for what he did for the club.
“He’s got Dewsbury playing with some confidence now and they’ll be a tough team to play against.
“The small pitch and the way the wind funnels down there always makes it a difficult game anyway.
“If you win there, you know you’ve had to grind it out.”