Penkywicz ready for the challenge

Sean Penkywicz
Sean Penkywicz

NEWLY-installed Halifax captain Sean Penkywicz has insisted he can successfully shoulder leadership duties while still hitting top form on the field.

The Grand Final-winning number nine had the job taken off him midway through 2009 as he struggled to replicate the performances that had cement ed his reputation as one of the most dangerous players outside Super League.

But boss Matt Calland has now turned to Penkywicz again, ditching last season’s Australian-style leadership group in favour of a single on-field leader backed up by a vice captain and a club captain, jobs taken by the veteran forwards Jim Gannon and David Larder.

“Matt just asked me to lead on the pitch, with Jim and Dave doing a lot of the stuff off the field, which suits me,” said Penkywicz, who will lead the side out for Friday night’s Northern Rail Cup opener against Swinton at the Willows.

“It’s a great honour and it’s something I wanted to do this year.

“I did it the year before last and my form suffered a bit, so that’s something for us to keep an eye on.

“But I’ve done it in pre season and I’ve felt like I was playing okay so I’ll try and kick on from there.

“In some ways it’s not a massive change because the people who spoke last year will still speak, it’s just about someone wearing the armband and making calls on the field.”

At one stage, it seemed doubtful that Penkywicz would even be at the Shay in 2011 as Fax embarked on a close season cost cutting mission that has seen a six-figure sum slashed from their football budget.

But the Leigh-based player, who tore up the second year of his existing contract before inking a new, less-lucrative deal, said he never intended to leave.

“I just wanted to stay here,” he said.

“It was a no-brainer really, I think some of the money is going out of rugby league at this level at most clubs and it’s something you need to accept.

“It’s cost me a bit, but it’s all sorted now and I’m just looking forward to getting started against Swinton.”