Harrison’s reign is off to a flyer

HALIFAX coach Karl Harrison promised there was plenty more to come from his new-look side after they romped home 36-6 in a quagmire at Dewsbury yesterday afternoon.

The visitors finished with seven tries after dominating the Northern Rail Cup opener, leaving Harrison – who had consistently underlined the importance of the fixture in the context of qualifying for the quarter finals – a happy man.

“I thought we played a very controlled game in very trying conditions,” said the former Great Britain prop, who watched his side surge 10-0 up after forcing four repeat sets in the opening quarter of an hour.

“We were very patient, we stuck to the plan very well and we defended very well.

“We took a lot of juice out of them in that opening 15 minutes and as the game went on we became more and more dominant.

“We won at a canter in the end and in that last quarter we got the chance to try out a few new things for Rochdale next week because the game was already won.

“It could have been a daunting venue for us, especially with so many of our star players sat in the stand.

“But we went there with a group of people who wanted to try really, really hard and do all the little things right.

“We spoke before the game about attitude, togetherness and doing the little things that win games for teams.

“This team is going to get better as the season goes on, we are a long way from the finished product at the moment.

“There is plenty more to come, but yesterday was certainly a step in the right direction.”

Harrison singled out his side’s defensive performance as being particularly pleasing, with Warren Jowitt’s side only rarely looking like they might break the visitors’ line.

“Our tryline defence was exceptional, on both edges and in the middle,” said Harrison.

“And when we got them down in their end in that second half they found it very difficult to make a metre, let alone get out of there.

“I thought Adam Robinson was very good for us, I thought Jim Gannon was good.

“Iain Morrison was very solid and Dane Manning is getting better. He still has timing issues, but his workrate is terrific.”

Harrison’s experiment with three playmakers, teenager Anthony Bowman starting the game alongside the impressive Paul Handforth and Anthony Thackeray coming off the bench in the second half, was also a success, with all three players scoring tries.

“I thought playing Thacks for the last 20 minutes freed him up a little bit and Anthony Bowman was fantastic,” said Harrison.

“They are different players with different skills and I’m sure we will utilise that all the way through the season.”

Fax’s only injury concern was their on-loan Wakefield prop Matt James, who left the field before the break with an ankle problem.