Liam Finn pleased as Halifax Panthers pass ‘attitude test’ against Batley Bulldogs in rain-soaked affair at The Shay

Action from Halifax Panthers v Batley Bulldogs at The Shay. Photo by Simon Hall.Action from Halifax Panthers v Batley Bulldogs at The Shay. Photo by Simon Hall.
Action from Halifax Panthers v Batley Bulldogs at The Shay. Photo by Simon Hall.
Halifax Panthers’ head coach Liam Finn praised his side’s attitude in their rain-soaked victory over Batley Bulldogs at The Shay.

Tries from Tom Inman and James Woodburn-Hall and ten points from the boot of Louis Jouffret helped Fax to an attritional 18-10 win played in monsoon-like conditions courtesy of Storm Kathleen, as they bounced back immediately from their Good Friday defeat at Bradford Bulls.

A pleased Finn said: “It was an attitude test of the highest order in which we passed. We came out with a great attitude which we maintained for 80 minutes. The same can be said for Batley.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It was similar to last week in terms of conditions, probably worse in actual weather and conditions under foot. It was a tick in the box for attitude and the team who obviously got in front was going to have the main say in the game. We did that and we managed to control it in the second half.”

He added: “It’s difficult but I thought both teams handled it really well. There weren’t loads of errors. You will probably see as many errors in a game played in blistering sunshine. You have got to be aware of your skill when the conditions are like that and both teams were.

“Both teams were up at 80 to 85 per cent completion rate. It was a decent spectacle for the conditions. It’s difficult as it’s hard to score and you can’t move the ball fast and you’re just looking to win the war of attrition and get the opportunity to take points when you could, which we did in terms of penalties and a couple of nice tries.

“They got a try off a kick which ricocheted off the post. You have got to understand that you will concede things like that in those conditions. How you respond to it has got to be good and it was.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Just like they did the last time the teams met in last season’s memorable 1895 Cup final Wembley, in which Halifax won 12-10, the Bulldogs battled well to try and get back into the game. But Fax defended stoutly in the game’s latter stages.

Finn said: “They were really good and we had to defend our tryline resiliently for the last 20 minutes of the first half and the last 15 minutes of the game. It was pleasing to do that.

“It is a little bit easier to defend in those conditions but probably not when you are doing it three, four sets back to back on your own tryline which we did at the end of both halves.”

The result made it two wins from three at the start of the 2024 Championship season for Finn’s men.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Pleasing to be two from three,” the head coach said. “We’d have liked to be three from three but two from three when the weather has been horrendous - conditions have been awful in all three games pretty much - is pleasing and gives us a bit of a foothold in where we want to be and where we want to go.”

Finn also confirmed that Greg Eden missed out due to a tweak in his hamstring, while Joe Keyes, who was introduced from the bench, failed a head injury assessment and had to be taken off.

Fin said: “It’s been a frustrating couple of games for Joe. He didn’t go on against Bradford and that was an error on my part, he should have done.

“He went on today and started to do the job I asked him to do really, really well and a couple of good contacts in defence in an unfamiliar position and unfortunately caught a stray hip, caught him on his head and he got a head knock.

“We will keep assessing that (Eden’s hamstring). Hopefully it is not too serious but we don’t want to push him and make it worse.”