HALIFAX caretaker boss Damian Ball admitted that uncertainty over 2012 playing contracts could have been a factor in yesterday’s season-ending loss to Sheffield.
Last season’s Co-operative Championship champions crashed out of this year’s play offs with a 50-12 loss to Mark Aston’s side, with the game over as a contest after 28 minutes with the Eagles leading 26-6.
Ball, who took temporary charge in July after the exit of coach Matt Calland, took his side to South Yorkshire against a background of numerous rumours surrounding incoming boss Karl Harrison’s recruitment plans.
Batley, Harrison’s former employers, claimed on Friday that Fax have signed their playmaker Paul Handforth for next year while only two of the side that played at Bramall Lane – Paul White and Rob Worrincy – have currently been confirmed as staying.
“There is a lot to be said for the emotional aspects of the game, and people worrying about the club signing players who play in their positions in the lead up to games doesn’t help,” said Ball.
“It’s not an excuse, but if players aren’t feeling good they’re not going to be in the right frame of mind to play well.
“I can’t say whether it affected certain people or not, but there were a lot of players who had off days out there and you would say it could have been a factor.
“At the end of the day though, we have been beaten by a better team and that’s that.”
Fax’s nightmare start, followed by a torrential rain storm, left them chasing an almost hopeless cause, leaving Ball – who said he does not expect to figure in Harrison’s backroom regime - with an almost endless list of failings.
“I don’t know where to start: Poor discipline, poor ball control, poor performance,” he said.
“We started poor, did far too much defending and struggled to get out of our own half.
“We had a bit of a dig in the 20 minutes across half time, but the second half got progressively worse.
“Catching and passing are pretty basic rugby league skills and if you can’t do that very well then you end up with a performance like that.
“My contract is out now and I will probably be looking for another club.
“It’s been a fantastic experience being in charge, albeit under difficult circumstances, and it’s a shame to go out on a note like that.”