Halifax coach Richard Marshall labelled his side’s 58-18 Championship annihilation at table topping Leigh as a ‘blip’ ahead of next weekend’s homecoming fixture against Featherstone at the Shay (3.0).
Fax were never at the races at the LSV, making nine handling errors - including five in their own half - during a disastrous opening half as the Centurions racked up a 34-6 interval lead on their way to wrapping up a third straight League Leaders’ prize.
Fax stay third on the league ladder, but Featherstone’s win at Batley and Bradford’s thrashing of Whitehaven ensured that there are now four teams covered by a single point with two rounds remaining.
Marshall knows that two wins, against Rovers and London Broncos, would guarantee a Qualifiers place, but is equally aware his side have finally run out of margin for error.
“It wasn’t pretty to watch; I don’t think we’ve played as badly as that all year,” he said.
“The opposition have a say in that, but our ball control was shocking.
“You can’t afford that error count against any team, let alone that team.
“It was ridiculous to keep turning the ball over like that.
“Maybe half of those were forced by the defence, but we certainly contributed massively to our own downfall.
“We were way off, in a lot of areas, which is really disappointing for this time of year.
“They came flying out of the blocks and they had the big guns on the bench, which hurt us when they came on.
“They picked holes in our defence where there haven’t been holes all year; they have some good individual players who can force you into decisions you don’t want to make and they did that over and over again.
“We had 10 minutes in the second half when we scored a couple of tries and put some momentum together, but overall we were nowhere near.
“But listen, we’re a good team and I’d be very, very disappointed if that has a bearing on how our season ends.
“We’ve done a lot of work this year and beaten some good sides and we’ll need to be good next weekend against Featherstone.
“We’ll have a good week this week and look for a response.
“We can bounce back from that; I’d like to think it’s a blip.”
Fax were forced to reshuffle a team that was unbeaten in seven matches going into the game - hooker Ben Kaye was absent with illness, robbing Fax of one of their key defensive players - with more enforced changes likely ahead of next weekend’s fixture.
“Connor Robinson has gone for an X ray on his hand, which looks like it may be broken, and Jacob Fairbank has a shoulder problem,” said Marshall.
“Richard Moore’s wife gave birth and Ben’s been ill.
“We’ll see how Connor is, but we may have to call Ryan Manneely back from his loan at Rochdale to play alongside Brandon.”