Halifax coach Richard Marshall turned his attention to the Easter Monday showdown with Bradford Bulls at the Shay (3.0) after seeing his side get back on track in the Championship with a 42-28 win over Oldham at Stalybridge on Good Friday.
Fax arrested a run of three straight losses against Scott Naylor’s side, with half back Gareth Moore scoring two tries and kicking five goals as they romped to a 30-0 half time lead with some slick attacking rugby.
But the visitors were less impressive after the break, although two late, late Oldham tries gave the final scoreline a deceptive gloss.
“If I’m being honest, we’ve probably had a similar discussion to the one we’ve had over the last few weeks,” said Marshall, who withdrew both Moore and in-form forward Adam Tangata before the midway point of the second half with one eye on his side’s second game of the holiday weekend.
“It did start off with congratulations, because we got a win that was important in the context of our season.
“But it’s also about the manner in which you win games.
“If that was a 40 minute game, then we were by far the best team on the park and things stuck for us, which hasn’t been the case recently.
“We made some strides there with the ball, certainly.
“We fixed up a few areas and we looked really good, but then we muddied that with some things that, for where we want to be, unacceptable in that second half.
“We took Gareth Moore and Adam Tangata off pretty early with one eye on Monday, which probably had an impact on the game.
“But we still didn’t do enough in that second half; we came out, didn’t complete our first two sets and it went from there.
“That’s rubbish, by our standards.
“You have to give Oldham some credit though, they threw everything at us and they’ve got some fight in them.”
Marshall was well aware Fax will probably need a season’s best performance if they want to repeat last season’s home success over their big spending, full time neighbours, but predicted his side would be highly motivated.
“If we win on Monday and beat Bradford, everything we’ve done today, and probably so far this season, will be forgotten,” said Marshall, who expects to make a number of selection changes, which could include returns for two key players in centre Steve Tyrer and hooker Ben Kaye.
“That’s the reality of the business and the derby games; everything else goes by the wayside.
“Some players will miss out; there are some players who physically can’t perform at the level we need twice in a weekend.
“Steve Tyrer, Ben Kaye, Elliot Morris, Gavin Bennion, Ryan Maneely, Tommy Saxton, Will Sharp; they’ll all be in contention.
“The only one who won’t be fit is Ben Johnston.
“We’ve not picked the team yet, but there will be a few changes.”