HALIFAX’S Jim Gannon says he “understood” boss Karl Harrison’s initial decision to cut him from the club’s 2012 squad in the autumn.
But the 34-year-old admits he will be out to prove the former Great Britain forward was wrong when he lines up against Keighley in the Boxing Day friendly at the Shay (12.0) after being thrown an 11th-hour lifeline.
Gannon, the Australian front rower who first joined Fax in 1999, has now signed a deal that will see him mix a coaching role with a pay-as-you-play contract as the club look to cover for the long-term absences of Sam Barlow and Makali Aizue.
“I understood what Karl was trying to do; put his stamp on the place and bring some youth in,” said Gannon.
“But no one likes being told they are not up to the job and it was hugely disappointing when he told me that at the end of last season.
“All through my career, if I have put the performances on the board I have been rewarded for it and this was the first time I felt that wasn’t happening.
“Coming back to Halifax from Widnes last year really gave me a new lease of life and I felt I was pretty consistent; there certainly weren’t many days when I came away unhappy with my game.
“Obviously, the injuries to Sam and Makali have changed things and I’ll get a chance on Boxing Day.
“After that, it’s up to me to try and prove Karl wrong, I guess.
“I’d love to play the full year, but if I get five or six games in for them early on, do a good job then call it quits, then that would be fine too.”
Gannon’s primary concern though is his off-field role, which will see him work alongside Martin Gonzalez with the club’s under 23 and scholarship players.
“The coaching is something I have always wanted to do and I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
“If the club wants to progress to the next level, then the way it produces players is something that needs to be addressed.
“There’s so much talent in Calderdale, and finding a way of harnessing that is something that Karl, Martin and Lee (Greenwood) are all passionate about.
“If I can help do that, I’ll be happy.”
Hot dog producer Ye Olde Oak has been announced as Halifax’s ‘entertainment partner’ for 2012 after extending their sponsorship for a second season.
“We’ve built a really strong squad and it’s on the back of the great support we get from our sponsors,” said commercial manager Pete Emmett.
Mark Rose, UK Controller for the Dutch manufacturer said: “The 2011 deal was so successful in terms of brand exposure, entertainment opportunities and raising our focus locally that we were keen to stay on board for 2012. The setup down at the Shay is comparable to much larger and higher profile sporting venues.”