Harrison ponders a return to raw power

Coach Karl Harrison was pondering reverting to effectively three front rowers ahead of Sunday’s clash with Workington in the newly-titled Kingstone Press Championship.

Fax spent much of last season playing with a third ball-carrying forward at loose forward, usually either Sam Barlow or Craig Ashall.

Harrison changed tactics for last week’s opening day 18-10 win over Sheffield, with playmaker Scott Murrell taking the number 13 shirt.

But the size and condition of the Derwent Park playing surface could prompt a rethink this weekend.

“We’re expecting a skinny field and a Workington side with a giant forward pack,” said Harrison, who confirmed he had asked an acquaintance in Cumbria to report back on the playing conditions ahead of Friday night’s final training session.

“That could mean we go with three props from the start.

“We’ll assess things and make a final decision today.”

With Barlow ruling himself out with a foot injury, Harrison has added teenage forwards Niall Berrett and Conor Wood to his initial selection.

Utility back Anthony Bowman, who has yet to feature in 2013 after undergoing shoulder surgery, could also come into contention, pending a successful comeback in last night’s under 23 friendly at Leigh.

“One of those three could be in the mix,” said Harrison.

“Bowman’s got the best chance, but the other two have been training great all winter.

“It’s too soon for them, but I got thrown in to first team rugby league at 17 and you’ve got to make the jump at some stage.”

Quite what kind of Town side Fax will face is unclear, with the entire squad of Super League side Widnes eligible to make dual-registration appearances for the Cumbrians.

“We’ll see who turns up,” said Harrison.

“What we do know is that they have players with a lot of Super League experience of their own - Ewan Dowes, Jamie Thackray, Mark Calderwood, Peter Lupton.

“They obviously won at Swinton, who had nine Warrington players in their side, last week, so it’s going to be tough.”