NO- ONE who watched Siddal’s super-efficient display, shown live on the BBC, in the recovery from 10-0 down to close as 32-10 winners in the second round at Pilkington Recs could have failed to be impressed by the NCL champions.
The Halifax outfit looked superbly well-organised, fit, focussed and disciplined and would, clearly, be a match for many a League 1 side.
Siddal are, in fact, facing just that in, in the shape of Toronto Wolfpack.
Head coach Gareth Greenwood, however, is mindful of one crucial difference. “The Wolfpack are full-time, and have been since last October,” he said. “They’ll be physically very powerful while, as good as our players are, we’re still amateurs, and in our pre-season.
“I know, though, that we have some very good lads in our line-up, but in the final analysis there’s obviously a gulf between full-time professionals such as Toronto and amateurs such as ourselves.
“Having said that, we’ll be going out there giving it our best shot, and hoping to keep the game tight and, who knows, maybe sneak a win. Our players are used to big matches, with two successive NCL Grand Finals behind them, and we accounted for Newcastle Thunder a year ago. The Wolfpack, though, look to be a different challenge altogether, but our lads do maybe need a different challenge; this is freshening us up after having twice been in the Conference decider. But we have to accept that it would be the biggest shock in sporting history if we were to win.”