Marshall: Fax ‘nowhere near smart enough’ ahead of Leigh showdown

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Halifax coach Richard Marshall says he may have to “strip back” his side’s tactical approach to get their Championship season back on track.

The 2015 Coach of the Year saw his side slip to a third defeat in five games in London yesterday, the Broncos - another of the league’s full time teams - running out 29-22 winners at the Trailfinders Sports Club.

Not for the first time this year, Fax appeared to have laid the foundations of potential victory when they led 22-18 going into the closing stages, but found themselves overhauled by two late tries and a Scott Leatherbarrow drop goal.

“It was definitely a more resilient performance, against a good London team,” said Marshall.

“It was nip and tuck, but we are still not being smart enough with the ball; nowhere near smart enough for where we want to be.

“We had a spell of pressure in the second half when we might have kicked on and we couldn’t break them down.

“We might have to strip it back a bit in terms of how we are playing over the next few weeks, just to get us back on track.

“We give the players a lot of latitude, they have some ownership as far as our gameplan goes.

“But at the moment we are not being smart enough or skilful enough.

“We might need to put a little bit more structure in there.”

Marshall made some significant team changes after last week’s loss to Batley, with centre Sam Smeaton, forward Adam Robinson and full back Ben Johnston recalled and Gavin Bennion given a debut in the back row.

“Sam gave us a strong defensive performance and I think Gavin, who was playing his first game since September, showed enough in glimpses to suggest he is going to be a good player for us,” said Marshall, who picked out Cook Islander Adam Tangata as his side’s star turn.

“Adam was outstanding; he’s a class player and he’s getting better every week at the moment.”

With pre-season title favourites Leigh due at the Shay next week, Marshall has unwanted injury doubts over hooker Ben Kaye, who was not allowed to return to the fray after taking a knock to the head, and two-try captain Scott Murrell, who suffered a cut to his hand.

“Scott’s got a really nasty injury and it’s going to need plastic surgery,” said Marshall.

“We’re not sure how he did it, maybe on a ‘blade’ or something, but he played 70 per cent of the game with it.”