Harrison: Rovers are still the Championship benchmark

Dane Manning      Pic courtesy Neil Grace Sportrait
Dane Manning Pic courtesy Neil Grace Sportrait

Halifax coach Karl Harrison labelled Featherstone as “still the team to beat” in the Championship after his side lost their unbeaten record at Post Office Road on Sunday.

Fax went down 40-18, after seeing a 12-10 interval lead blown away by a top class second half display from Daryl Powell’s Rovers.

Two tries in the first four minutes of the second half put the visitors 22-12 behind, effectively killing the contest.

“We came out a little bit soft at the start of the second half, they got a couple of quick tries and it was difficult for us after that,” said Harrison, who admitted the seeds of defeat were sown in the first half, when Fax struggled for quality possession amid an 8-4 penalty count and some crucial individual errors.

“We hadn’t seen enough possession in that first half.

“There was a lack of composure all game, everything looked a bit rushed and we never performed to our ability.

“As a coach, you put a plan in place but we never really played it as a team and we’ll look at the reasons for that.

“I think it’s something we can learn from and I think it proves that Featherstone are still the team to beat.

“The good news is that, despite the scoreline, we are not a million miles away.

“We have been beaten once all year, at home to the best team in the Championship over the last few seasons.

“It’s certainly not panic stations.”

Despite defeat, Fax stay top, four points clear of Rovers, who have a game in hand.

Second placed Batley slipped down the pecking order after losing 20-0 at Leigh, on the day the Centurions - who signed Fax skipper Sean Penkywicz last winter - admitted they could not afford to pay their players.