Halifax cruised to a dominant 32-6 Championship win at Workington yesterday, but coach Richard Marshall is demanding significant improvement ahead of Saturday night’s crunch contest at Featherstone (6.0).
Fax, narrowly beaten by Bradford last time out, had the game in the bag by the break on the Cumbrian coast, leading 22-0 after crushing a Town side who had beaten them in the same fixture last season.
Victory left them in sixth, two points shy of fifth-placed Featherstone, although Dewsbury’s 14-6 win over Doncaster saw the Rams rise to fourth, level on points with Rovers.
“It never looked in doubt, but I didn’t think we were at our best,” said Marshall, who added on-loan Widnes stand off Danny Craven to a growing list of injuries after the influential playmaker withdrew with a shoulder problem.
“I thought our defence was very good, we defended pretty much everything they threw at us, although we did do too much of it because of the amount of possession we turned over.
“They got us on a couple of kicks, which other teams will be looking at, so we need to fix that up.
“I would say we’re a competent team defensively now, but we’re not that with the ball as yet.
“We made too many mistakes in both halves; conceding possession after we scored, we must have done that at least three times.
“In the second half, we did completely the opposite of what we wanted.
“But we’ve come away with the win, which after last week against the Bulls - which took a lot of energy out of us and was costly in terms of injuries - was pleasing.”
Marshall welcomed back another loanee, the Huddersfield back rower Jacob Fairbank, while Cook Islander Adam Tangata made a strong return to the side after a month-long absence.
“Jacob was probably a bit rusty, but he’ll be better for the game,” said Marshall.
“I thought Adam played well; he’s been on the sidelines for four or five weeks and he went well.
“Tommy Saxton was very good, very elusive and constantly talking.
“But for your winger to be probably your man of the match, and doing the most work, is not where we want to be as a team.
“Danny Craven could have played at a push, but we decided not to risk him.
“Ben Johnston did okay in the halves, but Danny should be available for next week, hopefully.
“There was only Jack Spencer who was available who didn’t play though, so we have used pretty much everybody.”