Halifax coach Richard Marshall said his side were inspired by the presence of the club’s Challenge Cup winning team of 1987 after they beat derby rivals Bradford Bulls on their return to the Shay on Sunday.
Fax, back at home after six weeks on the road, won 20-18, looking dominant for long spells before two tries in the last two minutes gave the Bulls a more flattering scoreline.
Marshall’s side walked onto the pitch past the club’s Wembley winners of 30 years ago, including coach Chris Anderson and the legendary former Manly and Australia full back Graham Eadie.
Fax now go to Toulouse next Saturday (6.30) knowing that a win would move them back into the top four with two games remaining.
“It inspired me, I thought the whole atmosphere was great,” said Marshall, whose side shrugged off their recent sluggish starts to boss the opening half, building a 14-0 lead that probably should have been considerably bigger.
“I think emotionally it helped us and our start was a lot better.
“We were buzzing and those one per cent things do make a difference.
“I saw Wilf George lining up before the game and then you go in the changing rooms and see him on our heritage pictures; that was brilliant.
“We weren’t just playing for ourselves, we were playing for those guys as well.
“You will look at the result and think it was a hard, tight contest.
“I didn’t think it was; I thought we were dominant for large parts of the game.
“But we weren’t in that last 10-15 minutes and if it had gone on for another two minutes we might have been in a position where we had lost.
“We need to reflect on that, but it was a massive game that we needed to win and we did.
“We started well, but we bombed three clear cut chances in that first half and turned the ball over three times on tackle one.
“Next week in France, when it’s 80 degrees, you are not going to come away with anything if you do that.
“We talk about learning and developing, but this week we really need to take all those experiences we have had this season and the lessons from them and roll them up into one big performance.”
Fax had the game’s star performer in full back Will Sharp, who was dangerous with the ball and made several try saving tackles.
And their attack looked sharper with the addition of Salford’s young playmaker Josh Wood, who combined well with stand off Scott Murrell and young hooker Brandon Moore.
“Josh was good, he’s a Super League player and he’s got something,” said Marshall, who finished the game with further injury headaches over Wood, Shane Grady, Ben Heaton and Ed Barber.
“I thought we got it right in terms of the dual-registration this week..
“I thought Josh, Jake Bibby, Daniel Murray and Jordan Walne all added something to us and I thought Rob Worrincy on the wing, having had a week off last week, really came back and invigorated us.
“And Steve Tyrer, having been down on himself earlier in the week after putting that kick out on the full at Swinton last week, kicked a goal off the sideline that in the end probably won the game.
“All that said, I thought Will Sharp was the best player on the field, which isn’t the first time I’ve said that this season.”