Halifax’s mid-season resurgence in the Championship gained real momentum as they crushed back-to-back Grand Final winners Sheffield 32-14 at Owlerton Stadium.
Karl Harrison’s side led 16-0 at the break, before an outrageous try from full back Ryan Fieldhouse just after the restart put them 22-0 ahead.
After that, the result was never in doubt with most of the Eagles’ points only arriving via tries from Dominic Brambani and Menzie Yere in the last three minutes.
The visitors had started the game without a specialist centre, with utility player Callum Casey and comeback forward Adam Robinson filling the midfield spots in the absence of Steve Tyrer, Danny Cowling and Ben Heaton.
Fax made light of that reshuffle from the start, with Robinson causing early problems for Menzie Yere on the Eagles’ left.
And that was where the opening try of the game arrived, captain Scott Murrell spreading the play and Robinson finding a perfectly timed offload for winger Peter Fox to touch down in the corner.
Simon Brown, kicking in Tyrer’s absence against his former club, hammered over the sideline conversion and Fax were 6-0 ahead.
The visitors, with Andy Bracek, Luke Adamson and Luke Ambler causing plenty of problems up front, doubled their lead close to quarter time when Casey scooped up an offload on the other side of the field and applied a confident, powerful finish by the corner flag.
Again, Brown was on target and although Sheffield found the possession and resolve to represent a threat as half time loomed, it was Fax who scored again; Fox soaring above Yere to claim Murrell’s cross kick and score in the corner.
Brown proved his fallibility by sending the kick wide, but Fax held their 16-0 lead to the break; Sheffield spurning an easy penalty with just 10 seconds remaining in favour of trying to score a try.
The Eagles looked certain to score just after half time when stand off Pat Walker raced through with star full back Quentin Laulu-Togagae in support, only for Fieldhouse to position himself perfectly between the two, pick off Walker’s pass and sprint past the rest of the Eagles team in back play to score under the posts.
Murrell added the extras, and although QLT did score soon after, with a sensational 60 metre solo effort that closed the gap to 22-4, Brambani dropped the kick off that followed, sparking a period of Fax pressure crowned with another splendid finish from Casey in the left corner.
Fieldhouse and Luke Adamson were both held up as Fax pressed for more points, before Adamson finally forced his way over with 10 minutes to go.
Sheffield’s two late scores hardly detracted from a crucial victory.
Sheffield: Laulu-Togagae; Ashton, Yere, Straughier, Taulapa; Walker, Brambani; Battye, Henderson, Stringer, Garside, Hope, Knowles. Subs: Owen, Lillycrop, Green, Tagaloa
Halifax: Fieldhouse; Fox, Robinson, Casey, Saxton; Brown, Murrell; Tonks, Kaye, Ambler, Adamson, Divorty, Bracek. Subs: Mennell, Johnston, Brooks, Spencer
Referee: T. Crashley