Halifax limbered up for next Sunday’s derby against Bradford at Odsal with what coach Richard Marshall labelled a “tough” 24-8 success at Dewsbury.
A week after toiling to a 12-12 draw at Whitehaven, Marshall’s players responded to his call for a more uncompromising physical approach with a dominant defensive performance at Rams Stadium.
Fax, who now sit fourth on points difference after Batley lost to the Bulls, wobbled briefly when Glenn Morrison’s side, who had spent much of the opening quarter on the back foot, seized an 8-0 lead, but recovered their poise to lead 10-8 at the break before shutting their hosts out during a one sided second half.
“I thought we performed very well, a lot stronger,” enthused Marshall.
“We were certainly better defensively and we managed the game better than Dewsbury did in the second half.
“We played tough up the middle this week; we can still get better there, but our whack and our line speed was first class.
“Scott Murrell was strong and put in a couple of great tackles, Adam Tangata was strong.
“I just thought our attitude towards defence was better.
“We’ve seen it at times this year, but we had it from the start today and it grew as the game went on.
“We still made a handful, or two handfuls, of errors with the ball, but our defence was good enough to be able to cope with that.
“It was similar to last week in that we didn’t take our chances, but our defence was better.
“We had that five minutes before half time that put us back in the game and our management of the game was a lot better in the second half.”
Marshall was forced to reshuffle his side on Friday, with full back Miles Greenwood ruled out with a hamstring problem forcing Ben Johnston to full back and opening the door for Connor Robinson to return on the bench.
Robinson took his chance, kicking and passing intelligently, setting up a second half try for Mitch Cahalane and grabbing the final score himself.
“Connor had an impact on that when he came on; not just his passing, but his kicking game from dummy half helped us,” said Marshall, who is also resigned to losing at least one more key player for the game against Bradford.
“Dane Manning has a suspected broken thumb and Jacob Fairbank got a head knock.
“Dane will go for an X ray, although I can’t see him playing which is a massive loss for us, and Jacob will need to do a headtest before he can play.
“Miles has a hamstring problem, and we didn’t make the call on that until Friday, but Ben did a job for us there.
“We need to do a bit of work with that before next week.”