Bradford Bulls v Halifax RL: Calland upbeat after warm up defeat

HALIFAX boss Matt Calland declared himself satisfied with yesterday's pre season opener at Bradford, despite the Co-operative Championship champions slipping to a 50-8 reverse.

Fax had held the Bulls to 10-8 at the interval, hooker Sean Penkywicz and young back rower Joe Chandler both charging over for tries, before Mick Potter's side launched a seven try second half blitz to dispatch their visitors.

"I thought we went toe to toe with them for that first 40 minutes," said Calland.

"We fell away a bit in the second half, which was disappointing, but there were a lot of positives to come out of the game.

"It's still early days for us and it gives us something to build on.

"They had twice as much ball as we did in the second half and they completed their sets at 90-odd per cent, which was pretty good in those conditions.

"We gave a few too many penalties away and made a few too many errors when things started to go away from us and against a Super League side you are going to get burned if you do that."

Predictably, it was in possession that Fax caught the eye, despite the absence of playmakers Danny Jones and Bob Beswick.

"I was pleased with what we did with the ball," said Calland, who saw long-term injury victims Miles Greenwood and James Haley make successful comebacks.

"We caused them plenty of problems, particularly in that first half.

"I thought Sean Penkywicz looked very sharp at hooker, even though he had to play the full 80 because we didn't have Bob to do the usual rotation with. When we can do that, he will be even more effective.

"The kicking game needs some improvement, we kicked it out on the full three times, which you don't expect at this level.

"We had Danny Jones missing though and I'd imagine he'd help to fix that up.

"Joe Chandler finished his try well, Paul White looked good and I was very pleased with Jim Gannon, I thought he went really well.

"We've got a few bumps and bruises - Steve Bannister got his teeth loosened - but I think we're okay for injuries too."

HALIFAX'S Supporters' Trust are holding a '90s nostalgia night on Friday night at Blackwood Hall.

The event starts at 7.30pm, with tickets priced at 15, which includes a two course meal. Ex players expected to attend include Greg Austin and Mark Preston.

Details are available from Linda Kitson on Halifax 832562.