Fax up to fifth, but Marshall demands more after untidy contest

Fax's Elliot Morris scores against Swinton
Fax's Elliot Morris scores against Swinton

Halifax coach Richard Marshall watched his side climb to fifth on the Championship ladder on Sunday, but was far from happy with the performance that got them there.

Fax beat Swinton 38-28 at the Shay, with former Super League player Simon Grix starring in the back row of the pack.

But the contest was a scrappy one, with a rash of penalties, most of which arrived during a fractious and disjointed second half, ruining the flow of the game.

Marshall was largely keeping his own counsel after the final hooter, but Fax players were unhappy with a number of incidents as the Lions’ discipline went over the edge as the game went away from them.

“I’m pleased we won, it was a game we needed to win,” said Marshall, whose side now sit just two points shy of fourth-placed London ahead of next weekend’s home game against Dewsbury (3.0).

“But to concede five tries, including some scrappy ones, isn’t good enough.

“That’s not good practice for what’s coming up over the next couple of months and the next phase of our season.

“We’re going to be playing teams in and around where Swinton are, and we might need to wash our hands of that performance and just refocus.

“It wasn’t our best performance, I’m pretty negative about the whole thing really.

“It was slow; I’m not going to criticise the officials, but I thought we allowed the opposition to effect us too much.

“The disparity between last week at Hull KR, playing at that level, a top quality game, to playing in a game like that is poles apart.

“That’s us, the opposition and the officials; we all play a part in that.

“There were probably another 12 penalties in that game that I think we’d have got last week.

“Adam Tangata’s got a really swollen eye, Scott Murrell’s back went into spasm after he was hit late, there was a lot going on and I think they should have had a team warning.

“But you need to adapt your game to the situation and we didn’t do that.

“It never felt like last year’s game though, when we lost control and allowed them to take the points.”

Grix was particularly impressive, contributing some of the game’s most creative moments and dishing out some punishing defence as he continues his return to form.

“I thought Simon was very, very good,” said Marshall.

“He didn’t get drawn in, he’s an experienced player and he led us very well.

“His distribution was excellent and his contact in defence was great.

“I’d like to get him nearer the ball sometimes, which is why he moved into the halves when Scott had to go off.

“I’d love to play him at loose forward, but he’s a different kind of 13 to Jacob, who’s doing a fantastic job for us.

“He could play anywhere; it’s a nice problem for us to have.”

Fax also gave a debut to Salford’s Halifax-born back Niall Evalds on dual registration, the 23 year old playing on the wing in place of Rob Worrincy, who featured for the reserves in the pre-game curtain raiser.

“Niall quietly got his work done,” said Marshall.

“We had a different team for one reason or another.

“Gareth Moore had an injection, James Woodburn-Hall had to pull out.

“We didn’t particularly want to change things, but circumstances dictated.”