The good, the bad & the ugly: Halifax incredible, special measures, Bradford blow

Drew Darbyshire

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

We go through the highs and lows from the last seven days in the rugby league world. 

The good

Halifax are just 80 minutes away from Wembley after defeating local rivals Bradford 20-16 in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals at Odsal on Sunday afternoon.

We should appreciate the incredible performance from Jamaica international James Woodburn-Hall as well. The Jamaica international came off the bench to make a huge impact in the second half, coming up with an assist and try to bite the Bulls.

Fax coach Simon Grix has got his hometown side playing some fine rugby since taking over the reins from Richard Marshall earlier in the season. They are the only part-time side left in the Challenge Cup but face Super League table toppers St Helens in the semi-finals at Bolton. It could well be a step too far for Halifax, but stranger things have happened in rugby league.

The bad

Widnes might have been saved earlier on in the campaign, but they are still stuck in special measures and are on a rocky road until at least the end of the season.

The Vikings are not able to sign anyone for the rest of the season apart from trialists. Josh Ganson – who was released from Wigan earlier this year – is currently on a month’s trial with the club.

This news comes as a bitter blow for the Championship club, who looked to be on the straight and narrow after their administration crisis at the start of the year.

Widnes’ star off-season recruit – Anthony Gelling – is set to leave the club at the season’s end. Warrington have been linked with the Cook Islands international and his salary is believed to be in the £100,000 region, so that will free up funds for the club when he does depart.

The ugly

What a classic Challenge Cup tie we witnessed on the BBC on Sunday between old Yorkshire enemies Bradford and Halifax.

It was a brilliant game, which had a bit of everything to it. However, it was sad to see highly-rated Bulls youngster Rowan Milnes leave the field on a stretcher in the first half.

Speaking after the game, Bradford coach John Kear confirmed the half-back suffered a fractured fibula and is likely to miss two months. Kear commented: “It’s the saddest thing to come out of today. It’s not good news for us.”

Milnes is just 19 years of age, so he has a big future ahead of him.

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