Halifax Vandals will have new player-coach Ed Morane on deck for the first time when they travel to struggling Knaresborough tomorrow.
Morane, who suceeds Matt Farrar in the Warley hotseat, has quit Yorkshire One rivals Heath to take charge of the Yorkshire Four outfit.
The 24 year old IT technician, who moved to Calderdale in the spring after spending the bulk of his rugby career with hometown club Brighton Blues, played a handful of games for the West Vale side at the start of the season.
“I basically played every first team game up until the fixture at Brods when I broke my hand,” said Morane.
“I heard Vandals were having some coaching issues and the chance to further my ambitions in that area was something that interested me.
“I had a spinal injury earlier this year that will probably mean I will not be playing much into my 30s and I wanted to do something that would add some longevity to my rugby career.”
Morane’s ambitions for Vandals are wide-ranging, but not necessarily focused on on-field glory.
“I just want to make training and playing a positive experience for the players, something they will enjoy and tell their friends about,” said Morane, who plays back row or No. 8.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to finish above Halifax and keep that rivalry going, but I also want to promote grassroots rugby union.”
Morane, who is likely to include himself in the starting line up with Craig Sim switching to the centre, could hardly wish for a more promising opening fixture, with Knaresborough currently struggling at the foot of the ladder.
“You would hope we would be able to go there, pick up a bonus point win and put a bit of distance between ourselves and Halifax,” he said.
Old Crossleyans make the short trip to Cleckheaton with revenge on their minds.
Tomorrow’s hosts were 14-12 winners at Broomfield in North One East in September.
Crocs were without several key players then and winger Billy Hammond (knee) could be the only absentee tomorrow.
Skipper James Wainwright admitted a decision to rest rather than train over the festive period could backfire but he thought the big Moorend pitch might suit his side’s style better than their hosts.
Crocs like to spread the ball while he said Cleckheaton looked more to their pack.