Harrison praises Halifax’s resolve at Rochdale

Dane Manning
Dane Manning

Halifax coach Karl Harrison praised an “exceptional” response from his under-fire squad after they climbed to third place in the Championship with victory at Rochdale.

Fax, under pressure after two games without a win, closed to within two points of second-placed Featherstone with a 28-12 success at Spotland.

The relatively modest final scoreline belied the visitors’ superiority, with Harrison’s side carefully constructing a match winning 22-0 interval lead and Hornets only getting on the scoreboard with two tries in the last two minutes of the game.

“We needed to lift the spirits, because it’s been a difficult few days behind the scenes, but I thought the response the players gave was exceptional,” said the former Great Britain prop.

“Rochdale are a dangerous team, they ask a lot of questions and they’ve got the St Helens influence in their side, both coaching and dual-reg players.

“I thought the first half we were excellent at times.

“We were very strong defensively, had good deception with the ball, lots of fast ruck and we scored some nice tries.

“We were a bit subdued in the second half, and perhaps made some mistakes trying to play a little bit too much, but we stuck in there and it’s an important three points.

“To concede those late tries was disappointing for the guys, but after the week we have had, we’ll take that result.”

Harrison made a clutch of selection and positional changes after last week’s 12-6 loss to North Wales Crusaders, recalling winger Wayne Reittie and playmaker Paul Mennell, moving back rower Dane Manning into the backline and giving starts to forwards Sam Brooks and ex-Barrow player Jack Spencer, who made his debut on trial forms after returning from a stint in France.

“I think the changes we made were the right call,” said Harrison, who saw Reittie touch down twice in an eye-catching performance.

“I thought Reittie had his best game of the year, Dane Manning was very strong in the centre and Spencer and Brooks both played well.”