HALIFAX coaching consultant Brian Noble has hinted he is virtually certain to stay at the club until next month’s Northern Rail Cup final and possibly beyond.
Noble, the former Bradford, Wigan and Great Britain boss, joined Fax at the beginning of May with a wide-ranging brief to overhaul the club’s football operations and work alongside Grand Final-winning coach Matt Calland.
Noble’s initial deal was described as ‘short term and part time’, and Courier Sport understands that agreement – during which Fax have played six, won four and secured their place in the NRC decider - ran until the end of June.
But while the most successful British coach of his generation has always stressed that a return to Super League remains his priority, he gave a clear indication he is prepared to remain at the Shay for longer.
“I think it’s clear there is still a fair bit of work to do with the team,” confirmed Noble, who has been touted as a contender for potential top flight vacancies at Hull KR and Castleford.
“I have always been up front about this: I do not want to hamper my Super League chances and if there is an opportunity there I want to be in a position to take it.
“At the same time, that’s not a lack of commitment: I feel like I am doing a full time job here.
“I am pleased we made the NRC final - pleased for Matt, pleased for the directors, pleased for the players - because things weren’t going so well and now we have a day in Blackpool to look forward to.
“At the same time, it’s difficult to talk about that game because there are still a few weeks and some very important matches before then.”
Last weekend’s 36-28 loss to Batley, which broke Fax’s four game winning streak and left them six points adrift of a precious play off birth, was described by Noble as “mentally, a step backwards”, although he believes there were mitigating circumstances behind a first half performance that saw Fax trail 22-6 at one stage.
“We got ourselves in a position to win at 28-24, and didn’t take it, which is the frustrating thing,” said Noble.
“I do not like excuses, but there were probably reasons why we didn’t reach the standards we have set ourselves: Jacob Fairbank was ill before the game, we lost Paterson and Larder early on.
“We have taken massive steps forward recently, and I think everyone can see that.
“But Sunday showed that if you do not turn up fully prepared, determined and enthusiastic you will get beaten.
“I told the players though, I am not one for kicking stones or cans around the car park after a game like that. We need to respond in the right way, practice in the right way and get ready to go again at Dewsbury on Sunday.”
HALIFAX under 23s surged back from a 22-6 half time deficit to beat Dewsbury 30-22 at the Shay last night.
Liam Whalley led the scoring with two tries, with Jessjo Sheriffe, Chris Holroyde and Mark Goodman also on the scoresheet. Ahjay Hussain kicked five conversions.
A try from stand-off Quentin Laulu-Togagae five minutes from the end enabled Sheffield Eagles to snatch a thrilling 30-26 victory and condemn Barrow to a third successive defeat in the Co-operative Championship.