Halifax coach Richard Marshall was left to reflect on a gulf in class and physical conditioning after his side were battered 62-4 by an in-form Salford side in the Super 8s Qualifiers.
Fax took the lead against Ian Watson’s in-form side, who now sit top of the table with a three-from-three record, through on-loan centre Sam Wood and hung in until the end of the first quarter.
But the Red Devils, with the former Manly and Roosters starlet Jackson Hastings looking a class apart at half back, were in total control from that stage as they opened up a 30-4 interval lead.
“I don’t think we’ll spend too long dwelling on that,” admitted Marshall, who takes his players to Hull KR next Sunday (3.0).
“I thought Salford were outstanding, which is probably why they’re at the top of the competition.
“They looked desperate, they looked organised, they competed.
“We were in the game for the first 20 minutes, going set to set with them.
“But we made a couple of mistakes in key areas at key times which, when you’re playing against a very good Super League side, means you are going to get punished.
“I was disappointed about the scoreline, but the reality is they were in total control from the 17-18 minute mark.
“The physicality is the biggest difference; that’s hard to match for part time players.
“They dominated us physically. Maybe not in the first half, but certainly in the second and that’s where most of their tries came from.
“There was a big difference in skill levels and Hastings was very good; he controlled the game.
“If we can replicate what we did in the first 20, we are not far off, but you need to remember what’s at stake for these teams, they are desperate.
“Salford winning here, and then getting another one, that’s probably them home and hosed.
“They knew that.
They sensed an opportunity and they took it 100 per cent and that’s exactly the same thing we’re going to encounter at Hull KR next week.
“We need to try and match that desperation if we can.”
The home side’s cause was not helped by the loss of key forwards Simon Grix, who suffered a facial injury, and Jordan Baldwinson, who limped off with a knee problem.
“Simon’s been stitched up again and there’s a bit of swelling, but he puts his body on the line, which is why he’s such a fantastic player,” said Marshall.
“Jordan’s knee didn’t look great, he couldn’t really walk off the field, so that’s a concern.
“That doesn’t help when you’ve two players on the bench against a team like that, but that’s the reality.
“We said this last year; teams are more physical, so we needed more numbers, which we have.
“We need to manage that over the next few weeks because we have some tough games coming up.
“We’ve got some players who haven’t played in the Championship, like young Liam Cooper from St Helens, who’s been playing in League 1 up at Whitehaven.
“All those players will be learning from the experience.”