Halifax coach Richard Marshall has challenged his side to maintain the intensity they showed in last weekend’s narrow loss to title favourites Hull KR when they host Swinton at the Shay on Sunday (3.0).
Fax pushed Rovers all the way in front of 7,000 fans at Craven Park, leading 14-8 at the break before being edged out by a Shaun Lunt-inspired comeback in the closing 25 minutes.
Marshall is wary of the Lions, having seen his team undone twice in 2016 by John Duffy’s team, once at the Shay and again at Heywood Road in the Championship Shield.
And he knows his team can ill-afford any kind of hangover from an all-out effort on Humberside.
“You’d almost expect us to be flatter than we were last week; the challenge is not to let that happen and keep those energy levels up,” said Marshall, who said he had been in touch with referees controller Steve Presley over the James Greenwood try, that allowed Rovers to level at 14-14.
“The players put a lot into the KR game and we felt were in a position where we could have gone on and won.
“I’ve exchanged emails with the RFL over the Greenwood try, which came after Will Sharp dropped the ball.
“Greenwood was in front of the kicker and it should have been a penalty to us, which I think Steve Presley recognises.
“We might still have gone on and lost the game, I understand that, but it is annoying because it was a pivotal moment.
“We’re in a position now where we need to start picking up some points.
“We’ll be getting some players back over the next few weeks, the pitches are firming up and we can put some results together.
“But Swinton won’t be worried about coming here, they’ve caused us plenty of problems over the last year and they’ll be confident.
“They’re such a good attacking team and throw a lot of good shapes and patterns at you with the ball.
“We’ve done some work on our defence this week and that part of our game needs to be strong.”
Fax look certain to give a debut to Salford’s talented young back Niall Evalds, a former Siddal junior, who would be the highest-profile Reds’ player to play for Fax on dual registration.
Evalds, who still lives in Calderdale, trained on the wing on Thursday night and is expected to be joined in the 17 by Salford teammates Matthew Wilkinson and Ryan Lannon.