Fax v Bulls: Marshall detected different attitude ahead of derby success

Fax sealed a third successive win over the Bulls
Fax sealed a third successive win over the Bulls

Halifax coach Richard Marshall said he detected ‘a different mentality’ about his side ahead of their Easter Monday derby win over Bradford Bulls.

Fax made it two victories over the holiday weekend against James Lowes’ full time outfit, winning 14-10 in front of more than 4,000 fans at the Shay.

The home side, who had lost three straight league games by seven points or less before the Good Friday success at Oldham, led 12-4 at the break and then produced an outstanding defensive effort to claim a third successive win over the Bulls.

“We spoke at half time about being in these situations before over the last few weeks,” said Marshall.

“It was 12-4 against Leigh and we lost, now it’s 12-4 against Bradford, what’s going to be the difference?

“They said ‘Well, we’re going to go and win this one, Rich’.

“They had a different mentality and I think there was more belief there.

“We don’t do it easy. We are learning and developing, but we can still be a lot better, especially discipline-wise.

“But we were a lot better with the ball, we made a lot less errors, and the defence was on song.

“The players can be proud of the way they defended out there.

“To be in that situation in a number of games and then finally come through and win is important.

“We’ve been in every game we’ve played; no one has put a score on us.

“The difference is that we finally found the resilience we needed, even in that last five minutes when we Bradford camped on our line.

“There were some good performances; the forwards really mixed it with their pack, the back three were all very safe and Sam Smeaton had a great game defensively; he was hitting like a front rower at times.

“Adam Tangata gave us 80 minutes again; he’s developing into a good player for us.

“We are going to get a couple of players back in the next couple of weeks too in Simon Grix and Gareth Potts, so things are looking up.”

Marshall shuffled his side, bringing back winger Tommy Saxton, utility player Ed Barber and key duo Steve Tyrer and Ben Kaye.

The big decision was the selection of young hooker Brandon Moore and forward Elliot Morris, who played their third and second first team games respectively while a raft of more established professionals watched from the stands.

“It was a calculated risk, changing the team,” said Marshall, whose side now head to Featherstone next Sunday in sixth, five points shy of leaders Leigh.

“Some players can back up, some can’t.

“We made three or four changes there to manage the squad and I thought we got it right.

“Ed can cover a number of positions, Brandon played well on Friday and while Elliot was a bit of a risk, we know he’s strong and what he can offer with the ball.”