‘Possibility’ that Gannon could play again, says Harrison

HALIFAX coach Karl Harrison has conceded there is a “possibility” that Australian prop Jim Gannon could play for the club again next season.

Harrison confirmed he was close to agreeing a deal that would see Gannon, the hugely-experienced former Balmain, Huddersfield, Hull KR and Widnes player, assume a coaching role at the Shay in 2012.

But there are also signs that Harrison could be softening his stance on the 34 year old front rower’s on-field value, having originally told Gannon - who had been keen to play on - there would be no place for him.

“The first priority with Jim was to get him on board in a coaching role, and, having had another talk to him this week, I think we’re pretty close to doing that,” said Harrison.

“Jim’s a good bloke, he’s got an affinity with this club and I think he’d form a real good coaching team with Martin Gonzalez for the under 23s and the scholarship next season.

“There’s also the possibility, and that’s all it is at the moment, that we could look at him as a player for next year.

“I’ve told Jim that and we’ll see where we go from here.”

Harrison’s change of mind is largely a consequence of the long-term absence of Scotland forward Sam Barlow, who is out for three months after ankle surgery, and the probability that he will be joined in the stands by another strike front rower, Makali Aizue.

The Papua New Guinea international has now been told he needs an operation on his ankle, leaving Harrison fearing the worst.

“The scans have indicated that Makali’s going to be out for a similar length of time to Barlow, although we won’t know for sure until he’s had the op,” said Harrison.

“I think that’s going to leave us a bit light up front, certainly for the Northern Rail Cup group games.

“We need to qualify for the knockout stages and that’s going to be hard.

“Dewsbury and Featherstone in particular will test our middle section and Jim’s one possible reinforcement in that area.

“Whatever happens though, it would help him to train with us over the next couple of months, be coached by me and Lee (Greenwood) and get a feel of the systems we’re going to be using throughout the club.”