MATCH-winning half back Danny Jones has identified Halifax’s new-found winning mentality as the key factor in Thursday night’s gritty 31-30 Northern Rail Cup semi final victory at Featherstone.
Jones’ golden one-pointer sent Matt Calland’s side through to the competition decider at Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road on July 17, their first appearance in the game’s summer showpiece.
Fax did it the hard way, with a Dylan Nash try - created by Jones’ crossfield chip - four minutes from time, levelling the scores after Rovers had led 30-24 going into the closing stages.
“To come back at the end like that showed the sterness of this team at the moment. We never know when we are beaten,” said Jones.
“It’s more mental toughness than anything else and we have loads of that right now.
“We are physically up there with the top three sides in terms of fitness and have been all year, but it’s about being strong in the head too and we have found that over the last five or six weeks.
“We were down and out at one point, brought it back and then looked out of it again.
“But we kept our heads up, kept composed and hung in there for the win.
“We’d decided that I’d go for the drop goal if we were to the right of the posts and Ben (Black) would got for it if we were on the left.
“We ended up in the middle so I took the decision to take one more drive and it paid off.
“It was a good way to win a game, to show that much character.”
Jones, who rejoined his hometown club last winter after a three season stint at Keighley, guided the club’s under 21 side to back to back titles and took the man of the match award for the Cougars in the Championship One qualifying final.
But he knows that Blackpool promises to be the biggest day of his career so far.
“It’s a major final, after the Challenge Cup final it’s the only knockout competition we can play in, so for me personally, it’s massive,” he said.
“I was talking to Jacob Fairbank after the game and you could see the delight on his face to have made it with his hometown club.
“I played in the Championship One final for Keighley, which was great, but this is going to be special because it’s with Halifax.”