Featherstone 42-10 Halifax Panthers: Heavy defeat ends Halifax's hopes of reaching Million Pound Game
Halifax Panthers missed out on a place in the Million Pound Game following a heavy defeat to Featherstone Rovers.
The 42-10 loss marks a disappointing end to an overall solid season for Simon Grix and his men.
After a competitive first half, things quickly went downhill as Featherstone punished the visitors for every single mistake.
Rovers will now take on Toulouse as a place in Super League hangs in the balance.
The opening points of the semi-final were scored by Featherstone’s Frankie Halton. Halifax conceded a penalty inside their own 10 metres and Rovers made sure to take full advantage.
The hosts shifted the ball down the right as Halton forced his way through. Craig Hall’s touchline conversion gave Rovers a 6-0 lead.
Halifax looked for an immediate response and they were soon handed a boost as referee Robert Hicks sent Featherstone’s Tom Holmes to the sin bin after a late shot on Matt Garside.
Moments later, the Panthers turned their numbers advantage into points. The visitors moved the ball out wide with Zack McComb finding the hands of Conor McGrath. The winger had little space but he was able dive across the whitewash and score. Liam Harris couldn’t convert meaning Rovers were still in-front 6-4.
With quarter-of-an-hour gone, Featherstone were handed another penalty right in front of the sticks. On this occasion, Hall’s kick earned the hosts two more points.
Featherstone’s lead was growing and soon, it got even bigger as Craig Kopczak got over the whitewash. Scott Grix’s attempt at a 40/20 fell short and Rovers were quick to punish the visitors. To make things worse, they were caught offside as Featherstone gained even more easy metres.
As the Rovers approached the tryline, it was Kopczak who forced his way over. Hall’s conversion made it 14-4.
The visitors had two big chances before the break but both came to nothing as Featherstone held on to their ten-point lead at the interval.
Halifax started the second-half brightly and threatened with a couple of dangerous attacks. However, it wasn’t long before Featherstone kicked into gear.
With 52 minutes gone, it was Brett Ferres who first forced his way over. Moments later, the Panthers were punished for a short kick off attempt as Josh Hardcastle ended up going over.
Halifax attempted another short kick off but once again they were made to pay as Connor Jones touched down. Another conversion from Hall moved the home team 30-4 ahead.
The Panthers already had a mountain to climb but things soon got worse. In the 62nd minute Conor McGrath lost possession while under pressure from Featherstone’s chasers. Kris Welham was there to pick up the loose ball and crash over the whitewash.
With 13 minutes to go, Halifax were still showing signs of life. Dane Chisholm’s 40/20 attempt fell short of the mark which allowed the Panthers to get the ball back. The visitors moved up the field as Grix produced a clever kick behind Featherstone’s defence. Holmes failed to deal with the kick as Harris picked up the pieces and touched down in front of the visiting fans.
Connor Robinson’s successful conversion made it 36-10. Despite this late spark, Featherstone confirmed their place in the Million Pound Game with a late effort from Jones who scored under the sticks. Hall’s final conversion helped Rovers to a 42-10 victory.
Featherstone Rovers: Alex Walker, Craig Hall, Josh Hardcastle, Kris Welham, Gareth Gale, Tom Holmes, Fa’amanu Brown, Craig Kopczak, Connor Jones, James Lockwood, Brett Ferres, Frankie Halton, Callum Field.
Interchanges: Dane Chisholm, John Davies, Jack Bussey, Luke Cooper
Halifax Panthers: James Saltonstall, Greg Worthington, Zack McComb, Conor McGrath, Scott Grix, Liam Harris, Adam Tangata, Brandon Moore, Daniel Murray, Matt Garside, Ben Kavanagh, Jacob Fairbank.
Interchanges: Connor Robinson, Elliot Morris, Kevin Larroyer, Ben Tibbs
Match Official: Robert Hicks