Marshall hints at more calculated approach to Qualifiers

Halifax coach Richard Marshall has hinted the club may take a more targeted approach to the Super 8s Qualifiers than when they debuted in the competition in 2015.

And the 41 year old, who steered his side into the top four against sizeable odds, urged Calderdale’s rugby league community to back the club during the Qualifiers and prove that a long-term return to the top flight could be more than just a pipe dream.

Marshall was speaking after the RFL released the Qualifiers fixtures, which will see Fax kick off their programme with a return bout at Championship league leaders Hull KR, who they beat 28-6 last weekend, on Sunday, August 6 (3.0).

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“In 2015, we wanted to compete and to enjoy the challenge in every game and that will be the case again,” said Marshall, whose side defied all expectations to eventually finish sixth in the Qualifiers, one place away from the promotion play off.

“We’re not going out there saying we’re going to finish up in the Million Pound Game or get promoted.

“But I think overall we have a stronger team than we did last time and I think the experiences of the last two seasons make us a more complete side.

“There are things you can do in terms of targeting specific games and being a little bit more savvy and smarter about you approach things.

“We’ll look at all the angles over the next eight weeks.

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“I’d also really like to see people come and give the players their support during these games, because I think they’re doing something special.

“If we can get 3-4,000 for those big home games, then you can start thinking about Super League in the longer term.

“We’ve got an incredibly loyal core of supporters and we had a fantastic atmosphere in the ground against Hull KR last week.

“It would be brilliant to see the town and the area really get behind this team now.”

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After Hull KR, Fax host Super League outfit Widnes the following weekend.

But it is the televised game at hometown Warrington the following Saturday, August 19 (3.0), that will mean most to Marshall, who was assistant to Wolves coach Tony Smith before joining Fax almost three years ago.

“That’s the one I’m excited about personally and the players are excited about,” he said.

“Warrington are the best team in the Qualifiers in my opinion; an exciting, skilful team we can test ourselves against in front of the TV cameras.

“I’ve a lot of good memories of working there and it will be nice to go back.”