Fax give cause for optimism as they sweep Hornets aside

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Halifax coach Richard Marshall seemed cautiously optimistic after his side showed signs of something approaching form as they romped to a 48-24 win over Rochdale at Spotland.

The visitors, whose indifferent early season performances have placed both coach and players under the microscope, turned a 22-18 interval lead into a landslide win, with half back James Woodburn-Hall helping himself to three tries and centre Steve Tyrer contributing two tries and six conversions for a personal tally of 20 points.

Ironically, Fax’s turnaround came after skipper Scott Murrell had left the field with a groin injury that looks certain to sideline him for Thursday night’s Challenge Cup date with Super League outfit London.

Samoan full back Quentin Laulu-Togagae joined Woodburn-Hall in the halves, scoring his 200th career try as he celebrated a second half double.

“I thought the second half was up there this year, certainly offensively, and we weren’t going to concede a try in that second half until the last play,” said Marshall, who again used the former Leeds under 19s full back Reece Chapman-Smith from the bench.

“But they got 18 points in the first half, so our defence certainly needs to improve.

“There are things we need to be better at in that area, especially on goalline.

“We looked sharp and dangerous though; it’s a small field and you end up having a lot of time in ‘good ball’ and I thought our time down there was well spent.

“James was really good; he is a talented player, he always has been.

“He probably needs to take some belief and confidence out of that performance and I think a few of the others do too.

“When Scott went off he had to organise the team and he did really well in that department.

“Scott has a groin injury, which we hope isn’t too serious, but he wasn’t going back on.

“That’s a nice landmark for Q and he had a real influence on the way we attacked in that second half.

“He can throw those nice long balls and take the line on with that footwork.”

Marshall’s optimism was tempered by his side’s error count - they started the game with an incomplete set and struggled to produce a mistake-free set after they had scored - but hinted the players were determined to change that.

“We were a bit off in the first half, we just kept making mistakes,” he said.

“After we scored, we needed to complete the next set, put them under pressure, find touch, whatever.

“But we turned the ball over a couple of times and kept inviting them back into the game.

“I really want us to start on the front foot and take the game to the opposition.

“There were some harsh words at half time, the players got into each other a little bit.

“That’s good; it’s like anything in life, those relationships don’t always go to plan and sometimes you need to work at it.

“We are in the ‘working at it’ stage at the moment.

“Forget about Rochdale and where they are, we just needed to perform and we did that for 50 minutes.

“There’s a lot to work on still though.”