Marshall: Fax will continue to chance their arm in attack

Richard Moore
Richard Moore

Halifax coach Richard Marshall has pledged his side will continue their push to keep the ball alive ahead of their Championship fixture at Sheffield on Friday night (8.0).

Last weekend’s opening day 52-6 win over Whitehaven was notable for the amount of second phase possession generated by Marshall’s forwards, leaving the visitors’ defence chasing shadows as they off-loaded at will.

“It’s something we’ve practiced a lot and it’s something we’ll continue to work on,” said Marshall, whose side go into their date with the Eagles top of the table on points difference.

“We’ve consistently coached them to promote the ball; we’ve got players like Richard Moore who have that in their game and we want to utilise that.

“The key is doing it in the right areas of the field, players being ready to receive the ball and the team being prepared to defend it if it doesn’t come off.

“But if we can do it now, in February when it’s cold and wet and the grounds are soft, then it will definitely add something to our attacking game when the weather warms up later in the year.

“I guess the other teams will work it out at some stage and try and stop us doing it, but we’ll just move on to something else then.”

Marshall, who spent Wednesday on a fact finding trip at Premiership rugby union giants Saracens, said he expects to name an unchanged side for Fax’s first meeting with one of the Championship’s four full time sides.

“I can’t see there being many changes, if any at all, to the side that played at the weekend,” said Marshall, who has scrutinised footage of the Eagles’ 42-12 win at Workington.

“Luke Ambler’s been ill this week, but I’d imagine he will be okay.

“We’ve got other guys pushing for places, but I don’t think we were ever under enough pressure against Whitehaven to be able to make any real judgements about the 17 players who played last weekend.

“That will change against Sheffield; they’re a full time side and they’re all about high percentages and doing the little things well.

“They’ve probably been able to do 50 per cent as much work as us again so they’ll be a little bit fitter and a little bit stronger.

“They get good go forward from Scott Wheeldon and Mark Mexico and they’ve got one of the best players in the comp in QLT; he’s hurt us a few times in the past and we need to defend him better than we did at times last season.”

Halifax (probable): Johnston; Saltonstall, Smeaton, Tyrer, Sharp; Murrell, G. Moore; Ambler, Kaye, Cahalane, Manning, Barber, Fairbank. Subs: Tangata, Maneely, R. Moore, A. Robinson