Rovers’ ‘wrestle’ infuriates Harrison

Sam Barlow
Sam Barlow

Halifax coach Karl Harrison railed against Featherstone’s “wrestling” tactics after seeing his side lose their place at the top of the Co-operative Championship.

The reigning champions triumphed 24-4 in the top-two battle at the Shay, leaving Harrison’s team with a two-point gap to make up over the remaining six games of the regular season.

The visitors, who were dominant in defence throughout, were heavily penalised by referee Matthew Thomason for offences at the ruck, but Harrison - who has bemoaned the speed of the play the ball in the competition already this season - was far from happy after the final whistle.

“The first thing I will say is that the best team and the most clinical team won,” he said.

“But I’m disappointed with all the match officials this season, because I have seen it time and time again.

“The quicker, more athletic teams are being penalised because the referees are not policing the ruck speed.

“Nothing happens; the penalties he pulled were about half the ones he could have pulled.

“I need to gather my thoughts before I get myself in trouble, but it’s not fair to the teams that are coached clean because other teams are using these wrestling, or cheating, techniques.”

Harrison, who must rally his troops for next Friday’s Northern Rail Cup semi final at Sheffield, conceded Rovers are now clear favourites to top the ladder.

“It certainly puts them in the driving seat; they have been to Halifax, been to Leigh, been to Batley and won those games,” he said.

“They’ve got the easiest run in now and they should be favourites.

“But we’ll make it difficult for them and if they slip up then hopefully we’ll be there to take advantage.

“They did the simple things right, won the battle of the field position and took their chances well.

“They’ve done their homework, seen we’re a little bit week there in the middle unit and they’re probably still upset about the 60 points we put on them in May.

“But that will upset my guys tonight and we’ll see them again later in the season.”