HALIFAX prop Neil Cherryholme has called for Fax to “front up”ahead of Sunday’s Co-operative Championship showdown at title-chasing Batley.
Fax head to Mount Pleasant safely in the Co-operative Championship play offs having bounced back from their Northern Rail Cup final loss to Leigh with successive league wins against York and Toulouse.
But with both those performances characterised by a return to the defensive lapses that characterised Fax’s poor form in the spring, Cherryholme is well aware that much more will be needed against the Bulldogs.
“Different games are played in different ways, but we can’t be happy with the way we are defending at the moment,” said Cherryholme.
“We worked really hard on it the week before Toulouse and at times it came good.
“We defended that right edge pretty well, which is somewhere we’ve had problems.
“Then other times, we’ve not done it so well and let a lot of points in again.
“We’re happy with the result, but certainly not the performance.
“We need to be better, that’s for sure.
“When Batley are rolling down that hill, you need to be fronting up and winning the ruck.
“We’ve shown this season that we can defend and not play ‘you score, we score’, and we’ve shown some attacking skills the last two games, we just need to put it together on the day.”
Batley, coached by the former Fax prop Karl Harrison - who is already shaping as the hot favourite to replace departed Shay boss Matt Calland in 2011 - have already beaten Fax on three occasions this year, winning in pre season, Northern Rail Cup and league action.
“They’re a good team, they’ve got the better of us already this season and it’s always an arm wrestle,” said Cherryholme “If you start slipping off, they will take advantage.
“We need to get off to a strong start and front up.”
Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield is determined to reach yet another Challenge Cup final, even if the competition hasn’t been too kind to him in the past.
The Rhinos take on Yorkshire rivals Castleford Tigers on Sunday in the second semi-final at the Keepmoat Stadium in Doncaster.
Sinfield was part of the Leeds squad that were well beaten by holders Warrington in the capital last year, while he was also on the losing side twice before in finals played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
However, the England international is still determined to get back again and claim some silverware in what has been a tough season for the club.
“I’ve played in three (finals) actually and lost all three,” he said..
“It’s not been a great competition for me but I think people have tried to make a big deal about it.
“Given the play-off system as it is, it gives us a chance to fight for another trophy.”
Harlequins centre David Howell is facing a ban of up to two months after being accused of biting an opponent.
The 27-year-old Australian has been ordered to appear in front of the Rugby Football League’s disciplinary committee on Tuesday charged with biting Catalan Dragons scrum-half Remy Marginet in the last minute of Quins’ 48-22 defeat in Perpignan on Saturday.