Featherstone Rovers 8 Halifax 28: Fax shock Rovers as race for Qualifiers goes to wire

Scott Murrell
Scott Murrell
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FEATHERSTONE’S hopes of pipping London Broncos for second spot ended with a poor display in their final home game of the regular season.

Rovers, already assured of a top-four place, were outplayed by Haifax who stayed two points clear of fifth-placed Toulouse.

Halifax’s bid to clinch a place in the Qualifiers will be decided by the outcome of next weekend’s final round of matches. They host table-toppers Hull KR and third-placed Featherstone visit Toulouse who have a superior points difference to Halifax.

Coach John Sharp described Featherstone’s display as “not good enough and not acceptable.”

Their defeat was compounded by the loss of centre Chris Ulugia who could miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.

With Scott Murrell dictating play, Halifax were the better side from the start and went ahead when hooker Brandon Moore scored from close range and Steve Tyrer added the first of his six goals from eight kicks.

Moore sent Mitchell Calahan plunging over to double Halifax’s lead before Rovers hit back when John Davies put in Misi Taulapapa at the corner.

Tyrer kicked two penalties to put the visitors 16-4 up at the break.

Featherstone’s Jordan Baldwinson was held up over the line and Matty Wildie put in Taulapapa but the pass was forward. They then fell further behind Ben Heaton crossed after good work by Murrell and Edward Barber.

Jason Walton and Wildie went close in a spell of Rovers pressure before Halifax made sure of victory when Johnston scooped up a loose ball and sent Rob Worrincy racing away to score.

Thackeray made the opening for Frankie Mariano to grab Featherstone’s second try five minutes from time but it was far too late.

Featherstone Rovers: Johnson; Taulapapa, Hardcastle, Ulugia, Briscoe; Thackeray, Wildie; Griffin, Carlile, Bostock, Mariano, Davies, Ormondroyd. Substitutes: Walton, Lockwood, Moore, Baldwinson.

Halifax: Sharp; Heaton, Tyrer, Barber, Worrincy; Murrell, Johnston, Douglas, Moore, Boyle, Grady, Cahalane, Grix. Substitutes: Morris, Sio, Mammone, Kaye.

Referee: L Moore (RFL).