Fax boss Marshall: Top four surge is a ‘job half done’

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Halifax coach Richard Marshall warned his players their push for a top four Championship finish remains a “job half done” in the wake of Saturday night’s crucial win in Toulouse.

Fax beat the French side 16-8 on a feverish night in the south of France, a result which saw them leapfrog Sylvain Houles’ team into fourth with a two point advantage going into the final fortnight.

Marshall’s team could seal the deal with a second against-the-odds win at high-flying Featherstone on Sunday (3.0) if Toulouse were to lose at leaders Hull KR.

The following week, Fax host KR, while Featherstone visit Toulouse, and with the French side having a significantly superior scoring difference - 247 to 168 - Fax look likely to miss out if they end the season level on points.

“It was a very good win, but we need to focus on backing it up at Featherstone now,” said Marshall.

“It was a tough, tough game; conditions were exceptionally difficult, not just the heat but the humidity as well.

“We made some errors, but our defence was outstanding and we had three tries disallowed.

“The players did the job and they’re obviously upbeat after that, but it’s a job half done at the moment.

“It’s in our own hands now, but we’d be foolish to get carried away.

“There’s a dream scenario where we win at Featherstone and Toulouse lose at Hull KR, but the way this season has gone in the Championship I’m not sure I can see that happening.

“We’ve got two games to go and potentially we need two wins; we don’t want to be relying on other results.

“No one is going to do us any favours; no one helps anyone else in this competition.

“If it goes to that final weekend, I think the advantage perhaps swings back to Toulouse, because not many teams are going to go there and win.

“I know their coach pretty well and speaking to him after the game they still think they’ve got a good chance.”

Fax played with a makeshift line up on Saturday night, with centre Ben Heaton filling in on the wing, Wakefield loanee Michael Sio making his debut after just two training sessions and several players - Shane Grady, Ben Johnston and Ed Barber - playing with injuries.

“We patched them up; painkillers and strapping,” admitted Marshall.

“Heaton came through okay, but none of the others were 100 per cent and it’s probably not going to have done them a lot of good.

“Grady was pretty sore afterwards, Brandon Douglas hurt his shoulder and Adam Tangata has a knee injury.

“We’ll see how everyone is on Tuesday night and go from there.”

Marshall’s selection was complicated by the late withdrawal of Salford prop Daniel Murray, a near certain starter, who was recalled by the Red Devils at the 11th hour.

“Ian (Watson) called me on Thursday teatime, so it wasn’t ideal,” said Marshall.

“It is what it is; if Salford have issues of their own, that’s rightly their priority.

“We had Jordan Walne, but he failed his head test so couldn’t travel.”