HALIFAX coach Karl Harrison admitted that Wayne Reittie’s red card had a “massive” impact on his side’s defeat in yesterday’s top-versus-second Co-operative Championship showdown at Batley.
The Bulldogs won a thriller 23-16 to inflict only Fax’s second league loss in eight starts and cut their lead at the top of the table to a single point.
Former Batley boss Harrison had seen his side build a 16-14 second half lead playing down the Mount Pleasant slope, but the dismissal of Reittie – one of five players who followed their coach to the Shay last autumn – in the 61st-minute for a headbutt on former teammate Gareth Moore swung the momentum back in favour of the Bulldogs.
“I thought it had a massive bearing on the game; Wayne’s totally lost his head and, to be honest, I didn’t like what I saw,” said the former Great Britain prop, whose side outscored their hosts by three tries to two.
“You cannot go round doing that sort of stuff and we’ll discuss that in-house this week.
“Until that point, I didn’t think we’d get beat but good on Batley, they took their chance.
“There were things in the game that meant we didn’t get a result; we had a chance at a field goal and never took it; Paterson missed a penalty and the ball didn’t go dead..
“But overall we didn’t play well; Batley played the game better than we did, without breaking us down too much, to be fair.
“I don’t think some of our players realised what kind of game it was going to be, and they should have done. It was always going to be a dogfight.
“Some of our key personnel were a little bit off; maybe because we’ve had two relatively easy games.
“It was a strange sort of game, especially in the first half, because neither side seemed able to get past tackle two or tackle three.
“We tried really, really hard but we weren’t smart enough at the crucial times.”
Harrison’s cause wasn’t helped by injuries, with centre Steve Tyrer leaving the field early in the first half with a knee problem and influential forward Ross Divorty following midway through the second period.
“Tyrer did his knee early doors, Divorty had a sore shoulder and carried on,” said Harrison, who now takes his side to play Swinton at Leigh Sports Village on Friday night (8.0).
“We had a few more too on the quiet; Ashall got injured in the warm up, Casey has a knee problem.
“We have a few bumps and bruises and a short turnaround, so we’ll need to assess everyone and see where we go.
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Hull coach Peter Gentle slammed his side after they sneaked a narrow 14-12 victory at the struggling London Broncos.
The Black and Whites needed a late Danny Tickle penalty to secure the two points.
“It was ruck and rumble for most of the contest and we gifted them far too many opportunities,” said Gentle.
“If we want to be a top-four side, we have to be better than that.”