HALIFAX boss Karl Harrison believes the speed of the game holds the key to beating Hunslet in tomorrow’s Co-operative Championship opener at the Shay.
Fax will look to open their league account with a re-shaped line up after the suspension of workaholic back rower Dane Manning and in-form loose forward Craig Ashall, arguably the club’s form player of 2012.
Manning’s former Leeds teammate Joe Chandler will replace him on Fax’s right side, while another ex-Rhino, Callum Casey, slots into Ashall’s spot at the back of the scrum.
And Harrison, whose side scraped home 16-12 in their final Northern Rail Cup match at London Skolars last weekend, emphasised the changes will have a significant impact on his gameplan.
“We’ll miss Ashall and Manning for different reasons and we’re going to have to do things a little bit differently as a result,” said Harrison.
“Ashy’s effectively a third prop in the middle of the field, whereas Callum’s a different kind of player.
“We’ll lose some aggression, but we’ll probably gain a little bit of skill, because I thought Callum did pretty well off the bench last week.
“The key for us is to play a fast game, we look a much better team when we can play quicker, as we did against Featherstone.
“It is the first league game and we want to start well, but we’re prepared for nothing less than a battle.
“Hunslet are coming to win and if we fall below the standards we have set ourselves we will find ourselves in trouble.”
Harrison admitted his team had largely picked itself given the club’s current injury crisis, with the only difficult decision coming on the wing, where Rob Worrincy has finally forced his way past Paul White and Wayne Reittie.
“I thought Worrincy was the best of the two wingers last week and he’ll play tomorrow,” said Harrison.
“Rettie has probably fallen below the standards he sets himself over the last couple of games.
“White hasn’t done much wrong, but it’s a decision we’ll make closer to kick off.”
Match preview - page 29