Northern Rail Cup
Posted 28 July 2012 - 12:51 PM
Posted 29 July 2012 - 11:26 AM
The match will be officiated by Jamie Leahy and takes place at Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road, live on Premier Sports, kick off at 3.00pm.
Both West Yorkshire sides have never lifted the Northern Rail Cup with Halifax coming agonisingly close last year only to fall to Leigh Centurions in the final thanks to a last minute try from former Saints’ player Tom Armstrong.
Fax will seeking to go one step further this year and win the trophy but Featherstone will have other ideas and no doubt have revenge on their minds with the dramatic golden point defeats to Halifax in both the 2010 Championship Grand Final and last season’s Northern Rail Cup semi-final.
Featherstone and Halifax currently reside in first and second position in the Co-operative Championship table, separated by two points. Rovers last defeat came at the hands of Halifax (60-12 at home on 6 May) but have won their last eleven games since then included a win 24-4 victory away to Fax late last month.
The final will be Halifax head coach, Karl Harrison’s third appearance and he will be hoping for his third Northern Rail Cup Final win. Halifax are the third different team he has taken to the final with previously the victorious coach in charge of Salford in their 2003 win against Leigh and for Batley in their dramatic 25-24 success against Widnes in 2010.
Victory on Sunday would also tick an all-important box on Halifax’s Super League application (a Championship club must either win the Northern Rail Cup or reach the Championship Final to be eligible to apply for a Super League licence). Victory for Daryl Powell’s men on the other hand would finally mean Rovers have won every trophy in the Co-operative Championship and will sit alongside their league leaders’ trophy and Championship trophy which they won last season.
Both sides are yet to announce their teams for the game but Halifax prop Luke Ambler who has missed their last two games with a knee injury is believed to be fit and will play in the final. Halifax have no new injuries concerns and rested full back Ryan Fieldhouse, winger Rob Worrincy and prop Jim Gannon in their victory at Hunslet last weekend ahead of the game.
Rovers however do have injury concerns and will be checking on the fitness of Matty Dale (calf) and James Lockwood (ankle) who were injured in last Sunday’s 31-28 win against Batley. Jon Hepworth (back injury) will not play on Sunday and neither will Samoan international Tangi Ropati who started his comeback in last Thursday’s reserve match at Oldham after being out for three months with a broken jaw.
Key to Rovers plans will be Liam Finn. The half back has been impressive form for them this season and should he play, it will be his 250th professional game. If Halifax want to win at Blackpool they will need to nullified his threat and that of Andy Kain in the halves.
Halifax main threat for Rovers come from stand-off Anthony Thackeray who scored four tries in last week’s win against Hunslet but undoubtedly their biggest threat comes from hooker Sean Penkywicz alongside their big forward pack with the likes of Sam Barlow and Dane Manning.
It’s an evenly tied match across the field and whilst both defences will be on key, there are many attacking threats in both sides and it could be a high scoring affair.
Raiders will beat both next season, no problem!!!
Edited by Sempur, 29 July 2012 - 11:27 AM.
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users