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Kingstone Press Championship Round 17 – Hunslet Hawks v Halifax Preview

Another fixture on a Friday night under the lights at Hunslet. Halifax come to town full of confidence after their big win against Featherstone last Saturday. The Hawks were blown out of the water in their second half with Whitehaven last week, conceding 28 straight points after leading 12-0 at half-time. 

Last Time Out

Hunslet made the trek up to Cumbria for a matchup with Whitehaven. The Hawks needed a win to strengthen their position away from the bottom two and they were on track for the spoils at half-time as they were 12-0 to the good. Tries from Liam Mackay and Richie Barnett put Hunslet into a great position but, not for the first time, Hunslet were second best in the second half and Whitehaven took control from the beginning of the second period. A Dave Allen four pointer on 41 minutes stated Whitehaven’s intentions clearly and three tries in seven minutes for the hosts meant Hunslet were staring down the barrel during the final quarter. Greg Wilde, Dion Aiye and Richard Beaumont all crossed the chalk before the hour mark was reached, which left Hunslet with a lot of work to do. Good Whitehaven defence kept Hunslet at bay and the Cumbrians made sure of the win via Jordan Sigismeau who scored with six minutes remaining.

Halifax had a successful Saturday in Featherstone as they triumphed 44-20 at the Big Fellas Stadium. Tommy Saxton and Gareth Potts both scored hat-tricks, and Danny Craven, who has now been recalled by Widnes Vikings, went over the whitewash on two occasions. Saxton scored the first try of the match before Will Sharp replied for the hosts. Saxton had his second try of the game five minutes before Luke Cooper was sin-binned on 30 minutes for Featherstone. In the ten minutes that were left in the first half, Halifax scored three more tries to put themselves 26-4 up. Potts scored two tries and Saxton completed his hat-trick, culminating in a disastrous half of rugby league for Featherstone. The Rovers showed a little bit of fight during the second period, scoring the first two tries of the half through Alex Foster and Gareth Moore. The score was back to 26-16 and Rovers had a sniff of a comeback but those ideas were extinguished when Danny Craven scooted over the line. Steve Tyrer did the same four minutes later to rub more salt in the wound. Ian Hardman grabbed a consolation for Featherstone with four minutes left but there was still time for two more Halifax tries, one coming from Craven and the other from Potts.

Key Battle

To say the wingers of Halifax will be coming into this match with confidence would be a massive understatement. Tommy Saxton and Gareth Potts will be wanting to add to their respective hat-tricks they recorded last week when Halifax arrive at the South Leeds Stadium on Friday. The expansive style of play that Halifax have been showcasing will be a breath of fresh air for their fans to watch. Hunslet’s wingers will need to contain Saxton and Potts for the match as it’s inevitable they’ll be getting some ball in hand during the 80 minutes. Hunslet had Richie Barnett and Vinny Finigan on their wings last week, whether the former Sheffield pair will be in the lineup this week remains to be seen. Both Barnett and Finigan are good Championship players and they know their way to the try line.

Prediction

Halifax will be more than sensing a top four chase after last weekend’s result so they won’t be wanting to ruin their good work against Hunslet this Friday. The Hawks suffered a bad result last weekend so bouncing back, with what would be a very good win, against Halifax will certainly be on Barry Eaton’s radar – Halifax by 22

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