Harrison hoping Johnston’s absence will be a short one

Karl Harrison
Karl Harrison
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Halifax coach Karl Harrison is hoping half back Ben Johnston will be available for next weekend’s pre-season trip to Featherstone after he sat out the 10-4 win at Batley on Sunday with a foot injury.

The young playmaker, a close-season signing from Castleford, had been expected to continue his fledgling partnership with Simon Brown at Mount Pleasant.

Instead, Johnston shivered in the stands as Harrison’s side ground out an old fashioned winter success against John Kear’s 2013 Grand Finalists.

“We lost Ben in practice on Friday night with a foot injury, which didn’t help us, but hopefully he’ll be okay for next week,” said Harrison.

“We had to move Paul Mennell into the half back role from hooker and although he played well, it’s not what we practiced.

“Overall though, it was a good hit out.

“I thought both teams were rusty with the ball in hand, partly because of the surface and partly because of the way it was refereed.

“I thought we showed a lot of patience with the ball and I thought defensively we were very, very strong.

“We didn’t have much quality possession in the second half and, considering the amount of ball Batley had, I never really felt like we were going to concede another try.

“We are still a long way from the start of the season and we have come to a good side and won more convincingly than the score suggests.”

Harrison also applauded the second half cameos of young trio Josh Casey, Joe Martin and Miles Fairbank.

“I thought all the young boys did well; those three and Jarrod Ward, who started the game,” said Harrison.

“Against some tough competitors, they showed they have come a long way in a very short space of time.

“Whether they feature again in pre-season, I don’t know.

“But I think whatever we do from here on in, they have proved to themselves and the coaches that they can play at this level if they are asked to.”