Halifax coach Richard Marshall said his side’s performance in Sunday’s warm up fixture at Widnes contained “positive signals” for their 2016 season.
Fax drew 18-18 with Denis Betts’ Super League outfit, coming back from 14-0 down to claim a share of the spoils with a rousing finish.
“We are pleased to get a game under our belts; from a physical point of view you train hard but you never quite know how you are until you have some live targets in front of you,” said Marshall, whose side have a second and final pre season outing at Keighley on Wednesday night (7.30).
“We’ve come through relatively injury free and to finish the game in the way we did was a positive signal about the way we are hopefully going to go this year.
“It was a strong Widnes team, particularly in the first half, and we did well to come back at them.
“We finished strong and scored some good tries, right through the guts of their team down the middle.
“That’s definitely a good sign against a full time Super League team and something we will look to build on.”
Fax had been in the game all afternoon, but only finally cracked the Vikings defence when Marshall shuffled his selection, switching Ben Johnston to half back, Will Sharp to full back and injecting hooker Ben Kaye back into the fray.
“Will’s a good player and I thought he was one of our best performers overall, even before we moved him to full back,” said Marshall..
“Johnston was good at full back but a little bit better at pivot, he supported really well for that second try.
“Ben Kaye probably changed the game for us in his second spell at the end there.
“We had three hookers in the side today so we had to share out the minutes between them, but Ben knew he was going to go back on and he made it count.
“He’s had a great pre-season; he’s been working on some specific areas of his game and I thought he put those into practice really well.”
With 10 players, including new recruits Simon Grix and Gareth Moore, still sidelined with injuries, Marshall gave young talents Elliot Morris, Brandon Moore and Chester Butler their first games for the club.
Morris ran strongly in the front row, with Butler - in his first game as a professional at any level - playing centre and wing in two spells, while Moore, last season’s under 19s Player of the Year at Castleford, looking accomplished at hooker.
“The three young boys who came up from the reserves all put their hands up,” said Marshall.
“Moore looked sharp round the ruck, Morris was really strong with his carries and Chester did well to say it was his first game out of the National Conference.
“Kevin Brown was dictating proceedings down that edge in the first half, and we conceded some tries there, but he’ll have learnt something from that and the team will have done too.
“There are some good signs there from all three of them.”