Harrison facing tough selection choices

Ryan Fieldhouse breaks the Swinton line last weekend
Ryan Fieldhouse breaks the Swinton line last weekend

Halifax coach Karl Harrison was facing a series of crunch selection decisions ahead of Sunday’s Championship trip to Featherstone (3.0).

Harrison’s side made a winning start to 2014, downing Swinton 28-18 at the weekend while Rovers, rated with Leigh as title favourites, were losing 11-10 at Dewsbury.

Two of Fax’s key forwards - Ireland prop Luke Ambler and former Rovers back rower Dane Manning - missed that game through suspension but are available on Sunday, while several other players, including close-season centre signing Danny Cowling, watched from the stands.

“We’ve got some tough choices this weekend and there’s been a lot of discussion among the coaches this week, which is what we want,” said Harrison.

“This is the strongest squad we’ve had since I came here, with a lot of players at a very high level.

“Ambler and Manning are ready to play, but I thought the four props and the three back rowers who played on Sunday all did a good job.

“We’ve got Cowling there waiting as well and it gives us a lot of options, not just about who we play but how we play.

“Tactically, do we go with three pivot players, which worked on Sunday, or do we go with an extra forward and leave out a half back?

“There’s some decisions to be made.”

The two sides last met five weeks ago in pre-season action, with Rovers overcoming a shaky start to run out comfortable winners.

“It’s hard to read too much into that,” said Harrison.

“I think both teams’ selections had an impact that day and while they were the better side overall, I still thought we dealt with some aspects of the game better than they did.

“They’re a great team though and this is always a special game.”