Bulldogs hot favourites, but Fax remain a danger

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ON paper, picking a winner from these two tonight is a no-brainer.

Batley finished third on the Co-operative Championship ladder; Fax finished sixth.

And at times they weren’t exactly convincing in that position.

The sides have met four times this season, the Bulldogs winning every single one.

Batley go into the game fully rested - they have not played since the week before Wembley, due to the vagaries of the fixture list - while Fax have a raft of injury problems off the field and some distinctly indifferent recent form on it.

But there is something about sudden-death rugby league that has brought the best out of Halifax over the last few seasons.

Grand Finalists in 2009 and 2010, Northern Rail Cup finalists in 2011; that’s not the kind of track record you accrue by accident.

Bulldogs coach Karl Harrison - next season’s Shay boss elect, if you believe the rumours - will not have seen much to worry him during Sunday’s 32-24 win at Hunslet.

But he will be well aware that Fax’s big-game players - the Penkywiczs, Beswicks, Worrincys, Whites - still present a significant threat to his side tonight, almost regardless of their collective form.

Sunday reminded us Fax have enough individual talent to still win while playing badly.

If they can mix that flair with a genuine team performance, then anything is possible.