Halifax Panthers extended their winning streak to four consecutive victories across all competitions with an authoritative 60-0 thrashing of Whitehaven on a sun-drenched day at The Shay.
The Panthers left no room for doubt as they demolished their opponents with a staggering eleven tries, spearheaded by former Whitehaven player Lachlan Walmsley, who notched an impressive four tries.
Joe Keyes showcased his exceptional skills with both hands and feet, delivering five try assists, numerous line breaks, and converting eight goals, leaving no doubt about his masterful performance.
From the onset, Halifax Panthers established their dominance, surging to a commanding 26-0 lead at halftime, courtesy of an early 3rd-minute try. Walmsley’s acrobatic finish in front of his former supporters foreshadowed the onslaught that followed.
Keyes, displaying remarkable precision, successfully converted from the touchline.
Five minutes later, Keyes once again showcased his brilliance with a perfectly weighted grubber kick behind the defensive line, promptly seized upon by none other than Walmsley, further expanding Halifax’s lead to 12-0, which swiftly grew to 16-0 just two minutes later.
A break in midfield initiated by the remarkable Will Calcott provided Halifax with favourable field position, and the ball was swiftly moved wide thanks to an exquisite lofted pass from Louis Jouffret to James Saltonstall, demonstrating that Walmsley isn’t the sole scoring acrobat among the Panthers’ wingers. However, Keyes’ conversion hit the post from the touchline.
For the following 20 minutes, the game descended into a scrappier affair, with both sides committing handling errors.
Halifax Panthers squandered at least two try-scoring opportunities with the try line within reach. However, normalcy was quickly restored as James Woodburn-Hall, back in his preferred fullback position after his stand-off role against Newcastle, scored two tries before halftime.
The first try emerged from Jouffret’s nimble footwork, creating the space for the Jamaican international to powerfully cross over on the right.
Woodburn-Hall’s second try materialised when he cunningly deceived his way over the same spot following a remarkable carry from the returning Dan Fleming, who left an impression in his second debut for the club. Keyes converted one of the two tries, resulting in a halftime score of 26-0.
Following last week’s second-half lapse where Newcastle capitalised on three easy tries while Halifax enjoyed a comfortable lead, it was evident that head coach Simon Grix urged his team to keep Whitehaven scoreless.
The Panthers heeded his instructions while relentlessly amassing points in the second half.
Joe Keyes emerged as the star of the show, leaving his mark on nearly every score after the break. Less than three minutes into the second half, Keyes capitalised on a Whitehaven error, dashing towards the try line and unselfishly passing the ball to the supporting Walmsley to secure his hat-trick.
Keyes successfully converted the try, and once again, his boot played a pivotal role in the subsequent score, connecting with Ben Kavanagh for another successful grubber kick, enabling the towering second-rower to touch down.
Keyes’ last conversion attempt of the day went astray as Halifax Panthers began to unleash their attacking prowess under the springtime sunshine. Eribe Doro, making an impactful appearance off the bench, scored two tries, bookending a touchdown by Jacob Fairbank.
Keyes successfully converted all three scores before sealing the victory with his customary long-range interception try by Walmsley, five minutes before the final whistle, marking Walmsley’s 19th try in his 12th appearance in 2023.
The emphatic 60-0 triumph catapulted Halifax Panthers to joint 3rd position in the Betfred Championship table, alongside their upcoming league adversaries, Batley Bulldogs and Toulouse Olympique.