Fax’s Butler treading in famous footsteps

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New Halifax recruit Chester Butler will be treading in the most famous of footsteps if - as seems likely - he makes his debut in Sunday’s warm up fixture at Widnes (3.0).

The 20 year old former Siddal centre, who only turned professional before Christmas after touring South Africa with BARLA, is expected to keep his place in a largely unchanged squad after last weekend’s rained-off pre-season opener against Huddersfield.

Butler, the son of the former Halifax Town player Peter Butler and the nephew of Town’s former chairman Jim Brown, is also the grandson of Fax legend and Hall of Fame member Colin Dixon.

Dixon, a Wales and GB international who made 245 appearances for Fax between 1961 and 1968, went on to attain equally illustrious status at Salford, starring for the Reds for 12 seasons. Dixon died in 1993.

“I only really realised what a legend he was at Halifax recently,” said Butler.

“It’s all a bit surreal if I’m honest; At the end of the Conference season I was just enjoying my rugby, not really thinking about anything else other than having fun with it and keeping on playing at that level.

“Then there was interest from some professional clubs and you’re having a bit of a rethink about how far you can go.

“Now, I’m playing at the same club as my grandad, focused on trying to make a career out of it, hopefully with Halifax in Super League.

“I was a bit gutted to see the Huddersfield game postponed last weekend, but these things happen I suppose.

“Hopefully I’ll get a chance at Widnes, but I won’t be taking anything for granted until I see my name on the teamsheet.”

Butler’s arrival at Fax has been anything but conventional. Despite his family background, the former Brooksbank School pupil only played his first game of rugby league in his mid-teens after being spotted by the former Halifax player and coach Damian Ball.

And with a background in rugby union and football, the talented threequarter admits he is anything but the finished product.

“I’d say I’ve only really been playing properly for two years, at Siddal,” he said.

“I am still learning the game, but I’ve had some really good coaching in the last couple of years from people like Gareth Greenwood and I am definitely improving all the time.

“I spent four months on Bradford’s scholarship when I was at school and the improvement I made in that time was unbelievable; I can definitely see something similar happening at Halifax over the next few months.

“There’s definitely a fair gap between National Conference rugby and Championship rugby, and there are some quality players in front of me at Halifax, but I want to close that gap as quickly as I can now.

“Richard (Marshall) really understands his players and he’s got a reputation for giving youth a chance, so hopefully I can take advantage of that.”