Young guns boost their selection chances

NEW Halifax coach Karl Harrison admitted the club’s young guns could force him to rethink his selection plans in the wake of yesterday’s 44-6 demolition of Keighley at the Shay.

Harrison’s rebuilt side - with nine newcomers in the run-on 13 - ran in seven tries, with former Widnes and St Helens centre Steve Tyrer claiming 16 points through two tries and four goals.

But Harrison confirmed it was his unproven recruits - Rochdale utility forward Craig Ashall, Leeds youngster Callum Casey and Oldham back Ben Heaton, who have all yet to play senior rugby outside Championship One - that really caught his eye.

“I’m really pleased,” said Harrison. “It wasn’t the greatest spectacle in the world but it was a great result.

“Before the game I thought I knew what my best 13 looked like, but some people put a marker down for when it matters properly and some of the younger kids did better than the senior guys.

“I thought Ashall was terrific, the best player on the field by a distance.

“Ben Heaton was sensational when he came on, scoring a try he probably had no right to.

“Casey was outstanding as well at times and all in all it’s made me think a little bit, which is good.

“We had a lot of new players out there, we were running a lot of different formations and we had a few timing issues, but overall I was quite happy with what we did.”

Harrison now has three weeks before his side are next in action, against Leigh, the side who beat them in last season’s Northern Rail Cup final.

And the Boxing Day outing will now form the basis for the next stage in his close-season training schedule, which was heavily weighted towards conditioning work in the run up to Christmas.

“It’s a good benchmark for us,” said Harrison, who was unworried by Keighley’s decision to leave the bulk of their winter signings, including ex-Fax pair Danny Jones and Neil Cherryholme, sat in the stands.

“We’re going to start putting things together now.

“We’ve got some footage of our team now, so we can start doing video work.

“We know we need to improve, but it’s certainly been a good starting point. We need to be ready for Dewsbury in February and we will be.

“I wasn’t bothered what Keighley brought, it’s up to them.

“I always thought it was a game about us, not the opposition.”