Marshall: Fax so close to downing league leaders

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Halifax coach Richard Marshall said his side left Leigh on Sunday with their pride intact after a powderkeg 22-14 defeat in a contest that saw two players from each side sent off and two more sin binned.

Fax were trailing 18-14 - having led 14-6 early in the second period - when Leigh centre Tom Armstrong was red carded by referee Matthew Thomason after appearing to headbutt James Saltonstall.

Soon after, Leigh back rower Kurt Haggerty was penalised for repeatedly punching Fax’s outstanding Australian prop Mitch Cahalane, sparking a lengthy brawl.

In the aftermath, Cahalane and Haggerty were sin binned, with Leigh’s Jamie Acton and Fax pair Steve Tyrer and Andy Bracek all being sent off as both sides finished the game with 10 men.

“Mitch made a tackle, legitimately, rolled away and then started getting punched; that’s the way it looks from the video footage,” said Marshall.

“He’s on the floor, there are three, four punches and then everyone comes in and there’s a melee that ensues after that.

“I am not particularly happy about my players running in, but they have to look after themselves.

“One of our players had been headbutted five minutes before, so tempers were already frayed.

“Leigh play a brand of rugby which is very attacking and entertaining, but there’s some other stuff goes on that isn’t conducive to free-flowing rugby league.

“The last couple of games I watched they’ve had people sin-binned.

“I think it detracts from what they do, because they are a quality team.”

Leigh finally clinched victory - their 24th consecutive game without defeat - on the final play when hooker Bob Beswick touched down.

“I thought we played really well and we’ve ended up coming away with nothing,” said Marshall, whose side host Whitehaven next Sunday (3.0).

“But our pride is intact and we know we’ve looked out for each other and after each other, which is important as well.

“I thought for large parts of the game we were the better team; I’m not going to make the part time/full time excuse because I thought we were evenly matched.

“The front row were great, Ben Heaton scored a great try again, there were a lot of positives for us.

“We’ll keep going until we start getting the wins in these big games.”