Halifax Panthers rose to 4th place in the Betfred Championship Table with a 7 try victory away to struggling Dewsbury Rams. Once again the Panthers shared the glory as all seven tries were scored by seven different scorers in a professional, if not spectacular performance at the Tetley’s Stadium.
Simon Grix rung the changes before the game both forced and unforced. Joe Arundel and Zack McComb came into the backline for Greg Worthington and James Saltonstall, plus Nathan Mason (on dual registration from Huddersfield Giants) Joe Martin and Ed Barber coming in for Titus Gwaze, Brandon Moore and Adam Tangata. However, there were more changes to come as Mason pulled out due to a family bereavement, meaning Tangata came onto the bench. Then just before kick-off, James Woodburn-Hall was removed from the line-up as a precaution due to a tight calf, meaning Captain Brandon Moore came onto the bench to earn his 150th Halifax appearance with Joe Martin replacing Woodburn-Hall at fullback. Martin made the most of his opportunity with a try and a Man of the Match performance.
In his preview to the game, Simon Grix stressed the importance of backing up the fantastic win against Barrow in front of the Premier Sports cameras 6 days earlier. And it took the Panthers no more than 5 minutes to heed the coaches words.
Louis Jouffret finding Matty Gee with a short ball through a gap in the Rams defensive line then stepping the fullback Calum Turner to score underneath the posts. Joe Keyes converting for a deserved 0-6 score line.
Recently departed Panthers Assistant Coach Liam Finn is now the Dewsbury Rams Head Coach and in his first home game he’ll have wanted his new side to make their mark . His new charges did just that less than 5 minutes later, 40 year old veteran Paul Sykes worked the ball left to find Turner who made up for his defensive lapse to go through equally soft defence from Ben Tibbs to score in the corner. Sykes levelled the scores with the conversion and it was game on.
It didn’t take long for the Panthers to hit back though. Joe Keyes worked the ball to the short side, chipped over the top of the Dewsbury defence and whether by luck or design the ball bounced perfectly for the onrushing Lachlan Walmsley to grab before Turner to score his 17th try of the season. Keyes converted before the scorer turned provider. After grabbing a loose, lofted pass Walmsley, with seemingly nowhere to go managed to poke through the defensive line, get his arm free to offload to Joe Arundel who charged over the line for his 4th try of the season. Keyes was wide with the conversion with the score line 6-16.
And this is how it stayed until the break, with scrappy play and puzzling referee decisions meaning the flow of the game was stop-start until the half time hooter.
Whatever Simon Grix said to the Panthers players must have worked as yet again Fax struck first and early. Neat hands on the left hand side from Jouffret and Arundel found Walmsley who broke clear before handing onto the impressive Joe Martin to score his first try of the season. Keyes converted for 6-22 before the now customary try for Centre Ben Tibbs, making up for his defensive lapse in the First Half to power over on the right flank for his 9th try in 9 games. Keyes was wide with the conversion but was on target not long after. 150 game man Brandon Moore finding Ben Kavanagh short and close to the line, twisting his way over for his 5th try of the season, the conversion making it 6-32 and no way back for the home side.
Although the game was effectively over as a contest for the Rams, they still tried to break up the flow of the game to stop the Panthers putting on a big score. Even with Louis Jouffret plundering a 4 pointer straight from dummy half with Keyes converting, they never gave up and stopped Fax from adding to their 38 points. Indeed it was Dewsbury who got the last score of the game, even with going down to 12 men after Dom Speakman was sent to the bin, Ollie Greensmith went through some weak Panthers defence to score less than 10 minutes from time. Sykes converted to make the final score a bit more respectable for the home side but a professional, important win for the visitors – Dewsbury Rams 12-38 Halifax Panthers.
Turner, Blackmore, Dixon, Greensmith, Gabriel, Sykes, Gill, Beckett, Butterworth, Kirby, Graham, Knowles, Mathiou
Subs: Speakman, Kidd, Stevens, Walker
Tries: Turner (10), Greensmith (70)
Goals: Sykes 2/2
Sin Bin: Speakman
Martin, McComb, Tibbs, Arundel, Walmsley, Jouffret, Keyes, Murray, Wood, Calcott, Gee, Kavanagh, Fairbank
Subs: Larroyer, Tangata, Barber, Moore
Tries: Gee (4), Walmsley (15), Arundel (27), Martin (44), Tibbs (49), Kavanagh (58), Jouffret (61)
Goals: Keyes 5/7
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