Legends line up for Haley’s game

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Sometimes you look forward to the starter every bit as much as you anticipate the main course.

So it could be this Friday night at the Shay.

The main event sees James Haley’s select XIII take on Australian side Burleigh Bears (8.0) as part of the centre’s benefit season.

But a curtain raiser will take place beforehand (6.30) between a “Halifax Legends” side and the Great Britain All Stars Team.

Invited to feature in the hors d’oevre are the likes of John Fieldhouse, Jamie Bloem, Mick Scott, Damian Gibson, Paul Davidson, Karl Harrison, Karl Fairbank, Anthony Farrell, Des Clark and Oli Marns amongst others.

The Legends match is described as “two handed touch” which may not suit the tackling style of the some above named however!

And some of those players mentioned were asking about training sessions earlier this week.

“We need to sort out structure and moves,” was one comment.

It will also be good to see familiar faces like Chris Morley and Alan Hadcroft back at the Shay as spectators whilst it will also be a chance to see for a final time some of the players recently released by Halifax.

“Gibbo” is apparently maintaining that he will play in the main game and newly appointed Fax assistant coach Lee Greenwood may also be the subject of a tug of war between the two camps.

Haley’s team in the main event will hopefully be coached by Huddersfield Giants and Ireland fullback Scott Grix who is a former playing colleague of his – remember that play-off final at Widnes in 2004?

The Bears are of course a former team of Ben Black who may well be wondering which dressing room to go into!

As an incentive to buy a ticket rather than merely turn up on the night, all supporters who use a pre-purchased ticket will be given a raffle ticket on entry which will be drawn before the match and the winner will be brought onto the pitch to kick the game off!

And a ticket will also provide free admission to “Liquid” before midnight on the same evening although many of the aged former players mentioned above may struggle on the dance floor.

You can buy tickets from the Shay or online at www.jameshaleytestimonial.co.uk

It was nice of course to see Damian Gibson on and off the pitch as the Leeds trainer at the Super League Grand Final.

It is slightly ironic though that he should find himself as a member of Brian McDermott’s coaching staff at Headingley.

That is because back in 2005, in Anthony Farrell’s reign as Halifax coach, one of the main amusements (although it was introduced initially on a serious note) on the team bus on trips to away games was a compilation video of various high shots, cheap shots, fights and some classic brawls.

“Faz” obviously saw the film as a motivational tool.

But the loudest cheer usually came when “Gibbo”, back at Fax for his second spell and sitting at the back, was seen to be floored by McDermott in a Challenge Cup match!