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Kingstone Press Championship Round 19 – Halifax v London Broncos Preview

Both teams are level on points going into the weekend but the hosts are in fourth and the visitors in sixth. This potentially season-defining game will take place on Saturday evening at Cougar Park, home of Kingstone Press League 1 side Keighley Cougars. Form isn’t a problem for either side as both teams won pretty easily in round 18.

Last Time Out

Halifax travelled to Dewsbury’s Tetley Stadium for their second important game in a few weeks, after playing fellow top four chasers Featherstone Rovers in round 16. Richard Marshall’s men sure know how to turn up for the big games, they toppled Dewsbury 46-16 which gave the visitors’ points difference a boost in the process. Mitch Cahalane, Dane Manning and Scott Murrell all touched down before Dewsbury could muster their first points. Toby Adamson got a try back for the Rams and the revival continued when Anthony Thackeray crossed the whitewash to make it a one score game. A second Manning four pointer before half-time gave Halifax a good cushion after the first period. Ben Johnston and Ross Divorty carried on Halifax’s good work from the first half with a try apiece, Jason Crookes touched down for the hosts during the final quarter but the damage had already been done and was kept going in the dying embers. Murrell and Cahalane completed their doubles during the final ten minutes which really rubbed the salt into Dewsbury’s wound, and made their side’s win all the more sweeter as they got closer to the 50 point mark.

London returned to home turf after two rounds away. It was a successful stint away from The Hive for the Broncos as they beat Batley Bulldogs and Doncaster in the space of five days. Andrew Henderson’s Londoners got the better of Hunslet Hawks in round 18 too, a 34-12 win will have gave the London faithful more hope of a top four finish. There was nothing to separate the two sides at half-time, Elliot Kear and Wes Naiqama’s tries were cancelled out by Hunslet’s Matty Gee and Robbie Ward. However, the second half belonged to London who saw their captain Naiqama complete his hat-trick as well as tries from young star Oscar Thomas and potent scorer Rhys Williams.

Key Battle

Halifax welcomed two overseas prop forwards to their club in the off-season, with one settling in straight away and making an immediate impact and the other not so much. Mitch Cahalane could be a very shrewd pick for the Championship Player of the Year award come the end of this season whilst Adam Tangata has been hitting the straps during the past few rounds. The Tangata-Cahalane partnership will go up against, if the Broncos lineup last week is anything to go by, Rhys Lovegrove and Jamie Thackray who will prove a very stern test for Halifax to handle. Platforms will need to be set for each side’s respective halves to take control at Cougar Park this Saturday, and players like Scott Murrell of Halifax and Oscar Thomas of London don’t need many chances to get a stranglehold on proceedings.

Prediction

Halifax have had many tests over the past few weeks and passed with flying colours. After wins over Featherstone and Dewsbury, a victory over London would leave the Fax fans with no doubt in their minds that a top four finish is a distinct possibility. However, a London win would put them a step closer to finishing in Qualifiers territory and more so than any other side due to the run-in the Broncos have. Game of the week in the Championship? I’d say so! – Halifax by 14

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