Fax gunning for Oldham, but lose Manning for season
Halifax coach Richard Marshall is resigned to being without back rower Dane Manning for the rest of the season after the influential forward broke his hand for the second time in three months.
Manning, who was two games into his comeback, finished the Bank Holiday Monday win at Whitehaven - Fax’s first victory in seven games - in the dug out.
And Marshall, whose side host Oldham in the Championship Shield at the Shay on Sunday (3.0), said medical reports had confirmed the worst.
“Dane’s broken his hand again, we think in the same place as before,” he said.
“We’ll find out more when he’s seen the specialist, but you would have to assume that’s him gone for the year.
“It’s bitterly disappointing for him and the team, but it’s one of those things.
“It’s a freakish accident; he’d been given the all clear to play and he was fine against Dewsbury the week before.”
Manning’s absence means Marshall will reluctantly reshuffle a winning team, with half back Gareth Moore - omitted for the trip to West Cumbria - likely to be given a recall.
“I don’t think there’ll be many changes for Oldham,” said Marshall.
“The camaraderie was back last week, the celebrations of those forced errors and little wins, and I’d like us to really put on a positive performance at home, because we’ve not been great there over the last couple of months.
“Gareth has played almost every game and we felt he needed a rest last week.
“We might bring him back for Sunday; Ben Johnston came in and did okay and potentially we could try him and Gareth in the halves with Scott Murrell at loose forward.
“That would free Jacob Fairbank up to play in the back row, but we’ve a few options so we’ll see how everyone trains this week.
“I’m not really sure where Oldham are at, but they gave us a hard game at home in the Championship and they were all over Sheffield in the first quarter of their game last weekend.”
Marshall hinted he would stick with rookie centres Chester Butler and Nick Rawsthorne though, who both scored their first senior tries at the Recreation Ground.
Rawsthorne is Hull FC-bound in 2017, but Marshall confirmed he has already lodged an enquiry with the Challenge Cup winners about retaining the Halifax-based prospect on a season-long loan.
“I’ve spoken to Lee Radford about Nick,” he said.
“He scored a very good try out of nothing really and both him and Chester did well generally.
“Ben Heaton was good on the wing as well and his experience really helped.
“Usually, you see young kids starting on the wing, but you can be very exposed out there at times.”