Calland shrugs off the drop

Stemming the tide: former Halifax full back Shad Royston gets back to deny Peter Fox as Bradford are thrashed at Hull KR
Stemming the tide: former Halifax full back Shad Royston gets back to deny Peter Fox as Bradford are thrashed at Hull KR

HALIFAX coach Matt Calland insisted he was thinking of Co-operative Championship play off places rather than relegation dogfights after his side lost 30-18 at second-placed Featherstone yesterday.

Yesterday’s defeat - which was only sealed when Rovers went 26-18 up through a Liam Finn penalty four minutes from time - was Fax’s seventh in eight starts, leaving them joint bottom of the ladder with Toulouse, who are exempt from the drop.

But Calland was firmly focused on the positives after a much-improved performance saw Fax come back from a 20-6 half time deficit to 20-18 without managing to land the knockout punch against the team they beat in last season’s Grand Final.

“Things haven’t been going right, but there is a lot of spirit in this camp and there were some good signs there,” said Calland, who was without coaching consultant Brian Noble because of his media commitments.

“It was a big step forward for us.

“Brian has been really good, he’s full of enthusiasm and energy.

“We’ve worked hard on defence this week and although they got us a couple of times on the edges it looked a lot better.

“I have not thought of relegation once, to be honest.

“I am still confident we can get on a good roll towards the play offs.

“We knew the first half of the season was going to be tough.

“If we get a few wins to get some confidence, we can still make the top six.”

Calland identified some of his side’s old failings, particularly when they had Rovers on the ropes in the second period, as tipping the contest in favour of the home side.

“I think there were five or six sets on the bounce in the second half where we didn’t complete and that’s probably what’s cost us in the end, coming up with those errors,” said Calland, who reshuffled his side with Danny Jones coming in at full back for the injured Miles Greenwood and Bob Beswick replacing Graham Holroyd at stand off.

“We were better, but still not good enough.”

Co-operative Championship

P W D L F A Pts

Leigh 8 7 1 0 292 152 23

Featherstone 8 6 1 1 288 150 20

Batley 8 5 0 3 198 166 16

Barrow 8 4 0 4 239 205 15

Widnes 9 4 1 4 277 244 15

Sheffield 7 5 0 2 191 164 15

Hunslet 8 3 1 4 158 192 11

Dewsbury 8 2 1 5 173 230 9

York 8 2 1 5 136 294 8

Halifax 8 1 0 7 211 275 7

Toulouse 8 2 0 6 122 213 7