Halifax coach Karl Harrison lauded a “sensational” performance from winger Gareth Potts after his side jumped up to second in the Championship with a 20-17 win at North Wales Crusaders.
Potts, the former Batley flyer, made a series of crucial interventions as Harrison’s side ground out a nerve-jangling victory to finally leapfrog Featherstone on the league ladder.
Most notable were a try-saving tackle just before the break - at which point Fax already trailed 16-6 and looked certain to fall further behind - and a clinical finish to seal his team’s revival inside the final five minutes of a nerve-jangling contest.
“Potts was sensational, he was certainly our man of the match,” said Harrison, who left the former England winger Peter Fox back in West Yorkshire to accomodate Potts.
“The try saver in the first half, the try at the end; he certainly justified his place in the team.
“He had no right to get to that player in the first half, it was an outstanding individual effort for the team.”
Fax now face Rovers at the Shay next Sunday (3.0) in a contest that could decide which club claims second and the £450,000 prize purse that goes with it and which will have to settle for third and a relatively modest £200,000.
“We were struggling for long spells, they were more enthusiastic and maybe the team had been thinking about next week,” said Harrison.
“We’d talked about that, agreed that next week wouldn’t matter if we didn’t win, but I think it’s difficult for people not to think about that game and what is at stake.
“We did it tough in terms of personnel; Tonks rolled his ankle in the warm up, Adamson hurt his wrist in the first few minutes, Cowling was being sick throughout the game and at half time, Saxton rolled his ankle and should have come off, Robinson went back on to replace Cowling and popped his calf.
“We weren’t playing great, to say the least, and we spoke about courage and smartness at half time.
“We found the courage, and although we left the smartness back in Yorkshire, we found a way to win.
“Good teams find a way, and we did.
“In the bigger games to come though, we need to be more switched on.”