Halifax coach Richard Marshall has urged his players to focus on the “things we can control” ahead of their final Championship fixture against London Broncos at the Shay on Sunday (3.0).
Fax slipped to sixth on the league ladder in the wake of last weekend’s 24-20 reverse against Featherstone Rovers, meaning only a home win over London, coupled with an upset at Swinton - where Batley are widely expected to cement a top four place - could salvage their hopes of a place in the Super 8s Qualifiers.
Marshall put the chances of the lowly Lions springing an upset at “10 or 20 per cent”, with Fax’s priority a win over the Broncos, who are expected to give a second appearance to the former NSW State of Origin stand off Jamie Soward, who linked with the capital club last month ahead of an expected move to Super League in 2017.
“We can’t influence what happens at Swinton, so there’s no point thinking about that,” said Marshall.
“All we can do is turn up against a very good London side, perform at a high level, get a result and close this chapter of the season.
“If we sneak into the top four, we’ll take it, even though we’d be limping into it.
“If not, we’ll look ahead to the rest of the year.
“The players have been bruised, down and deflated; the reality of the situation hit them at training on Tuesday night and I think they’re probably 24 hours behind me in refocusing from the weekend.
“They haven’t done what they said they were going to do, and I haven’t said what I was going to do, and delivered a top four finish.
“Mentally, they need to get over that now and I expect them to be extremely motivated against London.
“They’re a good side, and they play the game in a way I like, even though they’re not in form.
“Jamie Soward is a fantastic player and he’s certainly one for us to look out for.”
Fax will be without centre Steve Tyrer with a broken arm (see separate story), with back rower Matt Sarsfield also a doubt with a hand injury.
Marshall expects to welcome back hooker Ben Kaye, who should add defensive steel in midfield.
“We need to defend a lot better on our goalline than we did last weekend,” said Marshall.
“The effort was certainly there against Featherstone, but our execution needs to be 100 per cent better.”