HALIFAX boss Matt Calland believes the Rugby Football League’s drive to speed up the play the ball will end up suiting the Co-operative Championship winners’ attacking style.
Fax opened their Northern Rail Cup account with an untidy 28-22 victory over Championship One outfit Swinton at the Willows last night in a game dominated by the whistle of referee Robert Hicks.
Hicks repeatedly penalised both sides for holding down and sin-binned rival centres Dean Thompson and Lee Paterson as he carried out Red Hall’s latest edict to the letter.
But Calland, who saw his side squander an early 10-0 lead before fighting back from 16-14 and 22-20 deficits to claim victory with tries from Paterson and Sam Barlow, was far from unhappy with the officials.
“I thought the ref went okay,” he said.
“It’s a fine line at the play the ball and I thought he was on the right side of that most of the time.
“We’ve been told now that if you land on your elbows and knees they’ll call ‘move’ straight away.
“It’s going to favour more mobile teams and I think it will be good for us.
“We’ve got a lot of quick, clever players down the middle of the field in Penkywicz, Black, Beswick, Worrincy, Greenwood and White.
“I’m sure it will work for us when we get used to it.”
Calland was less content with the collective performance of his players, although he preached the gospel of early season patience.
“We were amateurish at times, so it wasn’t a great night for us, but the main thing was to get the win and we did that,” said Calland.
“We didn’t attack space, we went where they had the numbers.
“We had chances to finish them off before we did and we need to learn to take them.
“We are not clicking, you can see that.
“But we’ve got a new half back in Danny Jones and a lot of new players around him: I think there were only six or seven out there who played in the Grand Final.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day was it?”