Marshall: Fax will need to post ‘outstanding’ effort to win at Leigh

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Halifax coach Richard Marshall has said his in-form side will need to post an “outstanding” defensive performance if they want to win at table topping Leigh on Sunday (3.0).

Fax, who thumped Swinton 62-12 last weekend, head across the Pennines sitting in third place in the Championship and unbeaten in seven games.

But with the Centurions sitting clear at the head of the league ladder and looking to make mathematically certain of top spot, Marshall knows his side face a challenge unlike any other in the division.

“It’s a big challenge; they’re a very, very good side and it’s a daunting, even intimidating, place to go and play,” said Marshall.

“They’re a Super League side on paper with the players they have and I actually think they’re a better side now than they were.

“Travis Burns’ kicking game has given them a different dimension and they’re really punishing teams.

“They’re doing the team stuff a lot more too; they seem to have bought into what the coaching staff are doing and they look like they’ve mixed the great individuals they have with more a team ethic.

“It doesn’t daunt us though, quite the opposite, the players are excited about it.

“We’re coming off a good win last weekend, but we know we have to play at a very high level if we want to get anything from this game.

“We need to take our chances with the ball - whether that’s one chance, five chances or 20 chances - and we need to be outstanding defensively, especially on our goalline.

“I think they’ll try and take us on down the middle, try and dominate our forwards, and that’s fine.

“It’s a big game for both teams, but we know we need to keep winning to maintain our league position.”

Marshall expects to be bolstered by the return of centre Ben Heaton, who sat out the Swinton game with concussion, while on-loan Salford back rower Matt Sarsfield - a former Leigh player - could also return after a dead leg.

That will ratchet up the pressure for places, with Heaton’s replacement, the utility player Ed Barber, notching three tries against the Lions, and veteran prop Richard Moore playing strongly off the bench following a month on the sidelines.

Half back Gareth Moore is expected to recover from a wrist injury in time to play.

“Hopefully, Ben, Matt and Gareth will all be okay,” said Marshall.

“But if they’re not 100 per cent, they won’t play this week.

“If they call come through, there are going to be some hard decisions and people are going to miss out.

“Ed did well last week, more than well, and Richard and Gavin Bennion came back in after not playing much recently and looked strong.

“We’ve got some options.”