Halifax coach Richard Marshall watched his side re-claim fourth spot in the Championship with a thumping 38-10 home win over third-placed Sheffield, before reaffirming his determination to keep his side focused over the final three weeks of the regular season.
Outstanding back rower Dane Manning and dual-registered Hull KR playmaker Connor Robinson both scored twice as Fax celebrated their return to the Shay in fine style, leading 14-8 at the break before pulling clear to cut the gap to Mark Aston’s side to just two points with three games remaining.
There was good news from Featherstone too, with Rovers - who had been two points ahead of Fax after winning at Bradford in midweek - losing to 32-30 Dewsbury.
And while next weekend’s fixtures will have a big bearing on the final make up of the Championship top four - with the Eagles hosting leaders Bradford and Rovers going to second-placed Leigh - Marshall will be directing all his attention to ensuring his side beat Batley at the Shay on Sunday (3.0).
“We can’t control any of that, can we?” said Marshall, whose side started the game in warm sunshine and then literally weathered a second half storm that brought thunder, lightning and torrential rain to clinch victory.
“I’m always getting mithered about other results; I’m not interested in other results, I’m interested in our performances and our results.
“It’s going to be another tough week, with Batley coming at the end of it and that’s the only thing we’re concentrating on.
“This was an important win in the context of the season.
“It was also important to come back here to the Shay, be proud of what we’ve achieved while we’ve been away over the last six weeks and back it up with a good performance.
“We did that; we got four seasons in one game and we managed that really well and we managed the physicality of the game really well too.
“I don’t think either team was at their best, but I was pleased with the way we finished the game and the smartness we showed.
“We played quickly at times in that first half , really quick, and I think that was what allowed us to pull away there at the end.
“We weren’t flattered on the scoreboard in that first quarter, but the work we did in that period of the game was important for us later on.”
Robinson, playing on a dual-registration deal alongside beanpole KR back rower Jordan Cox, hammered the final nails into Sheffield’s coffin, with a sparkling finish from 30 metres before adding a spectacular length-of-the-field interception.
“We had to move Connor around because of the injury to Gareth Potts and I thought he made a decent fist of playing at half back,” said Marshall.
“I was pleased to see him get a couple of tries; he showed some good pace there for that interception.”