HALIFAX coach Karl Harrison lauded a season’s-best effort from Luke Ambler after the prop’s last-play try secured three crucial points for his hometown club against Swinton last night.
Ambler, the dual-registered Leeds forward, stampeded over to smash an 18-18 stalemate and put Fax back on the top of the Co-operative Championship.
And Harrison, who signed the Ovenden junior as a teenager during his reign at Salford, was lavish in his praise.
“That was probably the best front row display I have seen this season by any player in the Championship,” said the former Great Britain forward.
“Luke was head and shoulders above any other forward on the field.
“He played 45 minutes in his first spell and asked questions with every carry he made.
“At the end, he certainly deserved that try.”
Ambler’s intervention saved Fax’s blushes against a Lions side that led 12-0 early on and then 18-12 after the break.
And Harrison admitted that when marksman Lee Paterson missed what looked like a simple penalty two minutes from time, he felt his side would have to settle for a draw.
“I thought it was a good game; Swinton were very good, well coached and a big outfit,” he said.
“They asked a lot of questions of our edge defence and, to be fair, we struggled with them.
“We ripped them to pieces in the middle of the field with our big men, but every time they shifted the ball wide we got a little bit panicky.
“Paterson’s got to kick those chances.
“It’s in front, 30 metres out, he’s got to kick it. And yes, I thought that was probably it with a couple of minutes left.
“Overall, we still need to be a lot smarter, our decision making was quite, quite poor.
“We created enough chances to win three games, we cut them to ribbons a few times without finishing them off.”
Fax finished the game with only 15 fit players, with skipper Sean Penkywicz pulling up with a hamstring problem and back rower Adam Robinson apparently being bitten by an insect.
“We showed great resolve because we had a bit of adversity,” said Harrison, whose side now face Toulouse in a one-off fixture in France next Saturday night as part of the Rugby Football League’s new European competition.
“We were down to two subs in the second half with Penkywicz and Robinson off.
“Robinson got some sort of insect bite; his calf swelled up and he couldn’t run.
“There was a lot of character and guts on show out there.”