Two teams tipped to battle for Super League promotion in 2023 after they finished second and third in 2021 and 2022 met as the Featherstone Rovers hosted Halifax Panthers and the Rovers turned on the style as they looked like a Super League side.
The story of the game for Halifax was that errors can kill a side off and that was true of the first try. After putting the ball down and inviting pressure from 15 metres out, a blind side move saw Hankinson put through a gap by Johnathan Ford to crash over. He converted to make it 6-0.
Then, after a brilliant Gareth Gale break, Gadwin Springer powered over from a short ball against his former side: 12-0 after 10 minutes.
For the next 15 minutes, Halifax stemmed the tied unto; a somewhat lucky try saw Featherstone pull further ahead as Matty Wildie’s kick hit a player bounced into his hands for him to score.
Try number four for the Rovers came after the half hour mark with Caleb Aekins continuing his impressive start to life with the Rovers by showing the dummy to get over.
To the Panthers’ credit they did get a try just shy of the break as Joe Keyes and Louis Jouffret linked well to create a chance for Lachlan Walmsley to race in at the corner. 24-4 at the break.
Five minutes into the second half Featherstone upped the scoreboard pressure with a penalty for a high tackle – 26-4.
More penalties followed. Another try created by Ford as he poked through and offloaded to Aekins to score again and make it 32-4.
Try six followed shortly after as Warrington Wolves loanee Riley Dean who has really impressed recently jinked his way through building on his Man of the Match display against Keighley Cougars on Monday.
Earlier in the piece he had shown his quality with a 40/20. As he went for another, he would pay for missing out. Walmsley covered that and he would score himself from a bouncing Keyes kick. Keyes converted to make it 36-10.
That was a mere breather from the try scoring fun for the Rovers and with 14 minutes to go the Rovers brought up 40 points with Ford chipping over and Connor Jones scoring.
The Panthers didn’t give up to their credit as James Woodburn-Hall crossed for a try but it was soon cancelled out by the Rovers’ eighth try which came from Gale in the corner.
The Panthers did have the last say as Woodburn-Hall produced a 60 metre dash to round off the game.
Just like they said last year.😂🤣😂🤣