HALIFAX coach Karl Harrison has said new full back signing Ben Heaton has the potential to be a Co-operative Championship “superstar” after the 21 year old signed a two year deal at the Shay.
Heaton joined another of Harrison’s former Batley proteges, the winger Wayne Reittie, in committing to the club yesterday.
“I am sure a lot of people won’t be familiar with Ben’s name,” admitted Harrison.
“He’s been the subject of quite a lot of Super League interest this year but I sat down and had a talk with him and I’m delighted he’s agreed to join us.
“His favoured position is full back, but he’s also played second row, centre and wing.
“He’s a big kid, strong, fast and he knows where the line is.
“He will need to adapt to playing at a higher level, but he’s keen to push himself and develop.
“Every so often you find a player who ends up being a superstar almost out of nothing and, without wanting to put too much pressure on him, Ben could be one of those.”
Heaton’s arrival means a surprise exit from the Shay for Fax’s incumbent number one, and Players’ Player of the Year, Miles Greenwood, who turned down an initial contract offer for 2012 and becomes the highest profile victim of Harrison’s rebuilding programme.
“I spoke with Miles a couple of weeks ago and he did have an offer,” said Harrison.
“He is a really good player and I wanted to keep him, but it came down to the fact there was no more money for him and in the end he stalled too long.
“It was a big decision to let him go, but it’s one that needed to be made.”
Reittie, a former Leeds junior, is the third player to follow Harrison from Mount Pleasant after Paul Handforth and Dane Manning.
Harrison admitted his recruitment could be seen as a surprise given that two more wingers, Paul White and Rob Worrincy, recently signed contract extensions.
“In my opinion, Wayne was the best go-forward winger in the competition last year,” said Harrison.
“He really flourished at Batley last season and he has the potential to keep developing.
“He’s not a prolific scorer, but he gets teams on the front foot.
“He’s very strong, very aggressive and he’s a smashing kid, there are no dramas with him.
“I’m looking for competition for places, and he gives us that.”
Championship club Leigh are in danger of going into liquidation, acting chairman Keith Freer has revealed.
The club have been in financial crisis since major backer Arthur Thomas was forced to withdraw his support earlier this year and their failure to reach Sunday’s Grand Final was another body blow.
Leigh’s players have not been paid this month and the club are in urgent talks with both the Rugby Football League and sponsors in a bid to prevent them folding.
In a statement, Freer said: “The loss to Sheffield has resulted in a serious cash flow issue which the directors are attempting to resolve.
“There have been intensive talks internally and we have been in deep negotiation with the Rugby Football League, the local authority, Leigh Sporting Village, sponsors, the corporate club and Leigh Independent Supporters’ Association.
“We are assessing urgently what monies are available in the short and medium term to meet all liabilities. At the same time, we are looking forward to what is achievable next season.
“There is a way forward but this will require some very hard decisions to avoid the club going into liquidation.
“With the assistance of a few, we will be able to go forward into next season.”