Untried Tangata a selection conundrum for Fax

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Cook Islands prop Adam Tangata has been cleared to play in Halifax’s Championship opener at Whitehaven on Sunday (3.0).

But it remains to be seen whether coach Richard Marshall is prepared to risk selecting a player he has yet to see in action.

Tangata, who joined Fax from Sydney club Mounties in the autumn, had been waiting for final work permit clearance.

Tangata has not played since the end of the Australian season, while his former teammate Mitch Cahalane, Luke Ambler, Richard Moore, Jack Spencer and Andy Bracek have all staked strong claims in the pre-season fixtures against Hull KR and Huddersfield.

“Adam will be in contention,” said Marshall.

“Based on what we have seen on the training field, I think if he had played in one of the friendlies he would have been in the team, but the lack of game time is obviously an issue for him.

“He’s trained well and he looks like he could cause havoc coming off the bench; he’s strong, he’s got good feet and he gets a fast play the ball.

“I’m happy with the offensive side of his game, but I’ve not seen him defend in anger.

“I’ve got reservations about picking him for Sunday on that basis, but we’ll see what happens at the weekend.”

Tangata aside Marshall has named a squad that will see big selection decisions at half back and centre.

Last season’s playmaking regulars Ben Johnston and Scott Murrell are tipped to see off the challenge of new Australian recruit Matt Place, while Steve Tyrer, Ben Heaton and James Saltonstall battle for the right to be included alongside new recruit Chris Taylor in midfield.

One player who won’t be involved is Rikki Sheriffe, who has joined Keighley on a month’s loan.

Sheriffe, who made a comeback after 15 months retirement against Huddersfield in January, will link up with his brothers Jode and Jess at Cougar Park.

The 30 year old utility back will retain his role on Fax’s coaching staff, but believes he needs more game time if he is to make a success of his return as a player.

Halifax (from): Greenwood, Saxton, Saltonstall, Brown, Heaton, Tyrer, Taylor, Johnston, Murrell, Place, Maneely, Kaye, Cahalane, Ambler, Moore, Robinson, Divorty, Manning, Bracek, Spencer, Tangata