Harrison praises efforts of victorious ‘bare bones’ team

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Halifax coach Karl Harrison praised the efforts of his injury-ravaged side after they closed the gap on the teams ahead of them in the Championship with a 18-10 home win over Workington.

In a contest that rarely rose above the ordinary, Harrison’s side - missing a clutch of regular starters and nursing the hangover of Wednesday night’s ferocious meeting with Leigh, overcame a 10-0 deficit to run out ultimately convincing winners.

“We were down to the bare bones in terms of players; they were the 17 we had fit and Adam Robinson was 18th man after 12 weeks out,” said Harrison, whose side now trailed second-placed Featherstone by five points ahead of next Sunday’s game against Rochdale at the Shay (3.0).

“We’ve got a lot of busted players; it turned out that Gareth Potts played 55 minutes at Leigh with a broken ankle, which is testament to his commitment to the cause, but we’ve got a lot of talent on the sidelines.

“Paul Mennell is probably the closest to coming back for Sunday, but we’ll have to assess things this week.

“I thought we were flat, but that was probably understandable after the epic we had on Wednesday night.

“We started the game soft, but for us the score on half time from Ross Divorty was crucial.

“We had a different conversation at half time, changed things a little bit and I thought we were well worthy of the points in the second half.

“Workington did a good job on us; they’re a good side.

“They’ve been beaten by Sheffield by a score, by Leigh by a score, by Featherstone by a score; they’re scrapping for points to stay in the competition and I think teams playing them later in the year, especially in Cumbria, are going to find it really difficult.

“But we are still in there scrapping and there are going to be a lot more twists and turns before this season is over.”

While livewire half back Ben Johnston, who at times looked the only home player capable of injecting pace into the proceedings, took the official man of the match award, Harrison reserved words of praise for unsung utility Callum Casey.

The former Leeds junior started the game as a makeshift hooker in the absence of Mennell and Ben Kaye, but switched to the back row in the second half, making the break to create Ryan Fieldhouse’s matchwinning try.

“I thought Casey was special; he started at hooker then showed his quality in the back row,” said Harrison, who has allowed prop Ben Davies to join Barrow on loan.

“Players like that, with that versatility and quality, are hard to find.”

One man who looks unlikely to play next weekend is Fax back rower Dane Manning, who has been charged following his clash with Sam Barlow at Leigh.

Manning will face the disciplinary committee tomorrow night, with a Grade E shoulder charge and Grade D striking on his charge sheet.

If found guilty on both counts, he could be suspended for up to 12 weeks.

“I’ve watched it from different angles, some of which are more conclusive than others, but it’s clearly not a shoulder charge,” said Harrison.

“It’s a pushing motion to the chest, but we’ve got a solicitor involved and I’m not going to comment any further until after the hearing.”