Halifax boss Richard Marshall admitted he “couldn’t be anything other than pleased” after getting his reign off to a winning start at Super League outfit Hull KR yesterday.
Fax opened their pre-season programme with a 46-16 success against a mixed Rovers side, kicking on from a 16-16 half time scoreline to run out easy winners.
The visitors scored five tries without reply after the break, despite last season’s starting half backs Ben Johnston and Scott Murrell being withdrawn to the bench, including sparkling scores from Miles Greenwood and Steve Tyrer.
“We’re not reading too much into it, but we can’t not go away and be pleased with that,” said Marshall, who gave debuts to seven players, plus a ‘second debut’ to re-signed full back Greenwood.
“I think for both teams there are areas to work on, but we expected that.
“We both used 21 players and we ran with different half back combinations in each half, so that has an effect.
“From my point of view it was a first chance to look at the players, full stop.
“In that sense, I’m going away reasonably pleased.
“I know Hull KR had most of their juniors out in that second half, but to keep them scoreless was a big positive.
“You play what’s in front of you.
“If they had put their starting 17 out, it would probably have been a different game, so we won’t be getting carried away.”
One of Marshall’s priorities this winter had been to improve his side’s goalline defence and that looked to have paid dividends yesterday as they withstood plenty of Rovers pressure, especially before the break.
“You are going to get broken down at times, that’s the nature of the game, it’s about how you react to that and making those tries as difficult as possible to score,” said Marshall.
“I thought we did that and I was also pretty pleased with some of the tries we scored.
“With the ball, you never quite know what it is going to look like on game day until you’ve had the chance to put things into practice in that situation.
“The things we’ve worked on paid off for us on this occasion, but we’ll only know how well it works against Championship opposition when we start playing those teams.”
Marshall can reflect on several strong individual performances, with hooker Ben Kaye and prop Luke Ambler - who scored two point-blank tries - excelling and young centre Chris Taylor, a close season signing from Whitehaven, the pick of the new recruits.
“Luke went over for a couple of long range scores which was good to see because he’s worked very hard,” said Marshall.
“Chris looks like a good signing for the club too; he can cover a number of positions and he’ll be well pleased with his debut for us.”