Marshall’s delight as Fax thump Eagles to go fifth in Championship

Matt Sarsfield scored three tries
Matt Sarsfield scored three tries

Halifax coach Richard Marshall told his players to “embrace and enjoy” their form after watching them destroy Championship full timers Sheffield Eagles 60-22 at the Shay yesterday.

Marshall’s side, fresh from their 37-0 Summer Bash win over Featherstone, were white hot from the moment Adam Tangata charged over the whitewash after two minutes, finishing with 10 tries to move into fifth on the league ladder with seven games remaining.

Centre Steve Tyrer continued his fine season with the kicking tee, posting another 100 per cent display to move into third in the list of Fax’s all-time points scorers, with only Ronnie James and Hubert Lockwood ahead of him.

“You have to enjoy days like this; I said to them at half time ‘this is why you come to work, come to training, for days like this when it is going well’,” said Marshall, who now takes his side to Whitehaven on Saturday night (6.30).

“You’ve got to embrace that, not talk it down, which I think some coaches might.

“I won’t lie to them about that 10 minutes in the second half, that was a poor team on display, but the other 70 were a fantastic display of Championship rugby league.

“Some of the tries we scored were very, very good.

“It’s taken us half a season to get there, but we’re finding some form.

“It could all come tumbling down at some point, but at the moment we’re still climbing the hill.

“We are building, our confidence is there and we are normalising our performances a bit more; we are playing at a higher level.

“We’ve got some good experience from what we did last year and we’ve got some confidence from that.

“I thought some aspects we were as good as last week, others not so much.

“The man who pushed with the ball carrier was very successful this week; whether that was being on the end of tries or helping their mate get a try.

“We weren’t as good defensively though, they broke us down around the middle and that’s something we’ll look at.”

Marshall persisted with the tactical changes that worked so well at Blackpool, with Scott Murrell moving to hooker after 30 minutes and Ben Johnston slotting in at half back.

“That dynamic is working; what they’re doing, the rotation, and Scott is performing as well in the middle as he was on the edge,” said Marshall.

“When he came off, we lost a bit of leadership and direction and it’s up to Gareth and Ben and Miles to say ‘hold on, this is my gig now’ and get control.

“Johnno’s only two games in, but he’s a jack in a box and he defended well as well.”

The only downsides to a super afternoon’s work were a hat-trick of injuries and the knowledge that on loan back rower Matt Sarsfield, who scored three tries, was due back at Super League side Salford on Monday.

“We lost a couple of players, which meant things got a bit scruffy with people out of position,” said Marshall.

“James Saltonstall has a hamstring problem, Ben Heaton got a deadleg and Scott’s got an issue with his quad.

“They all reckon they’ll be fine, but you always say that when you’re pumped full of adrenalin and want to play next week, so we’ll monitor them through the week.

“We don’t want to change things, but we’ll see.

“With Matt, Salford they’ve asked him to train on Monday, so we’ll see.

“I’ll speak to Ian Watson and see whether we can have him week to week.”