Marshall impressed by in-form Saltonstall

James Saltonstall
James Saltonstall

Halifax coach Richard Marshall enthused over the performance of rookie full back James Saltonstall after the former Siddal junior starred in a 38-6 Championship win over Workington at the Shay.

Saltonstall, who arrived at his hometown club in the autumn as a centre or winger after negotiating a release from Super League outfit Warrington, has nailed down the number one spot since the loss of Miles Greenwood with a broken leg.

And he was in eye catching form against Town, scoring one try, making another for Ben Heaton, and torturing the Cumbrians every time he touched the ball before rounding things off with a Mal Meninga-eque toe poke conversion to Ben Kaye’s late try.

“How good is he?,” smiled Marshall, whose side led 28-0 at the break but never really hit the same heights after the interval.

“He’s a good runner, we know that, but some of the catches he took…

“He takes them, then he beats the first three players.

“We need to develop him, get his pass and kick selection better, his lines of running.

“If we improve him there, we could have a really, really good player on our hands.

“He’s so confident; he just loves playing rugby.

“Overall, it was a good win; we were very good in the first half, but there was a bit of disruption in the second 40 and our discipline wasn’t great.

“We gave a few penalties away there that we shouldn’t have done, although I did feel it could have been refereed slightly differently.

“I felt they were trying to slow us down all game; we didn’t succumb to that before the break but we did afterwards.”

Fax have bigger fish to fry now, with Friday night’s Challenge Cup date at Super League outfit Wakefield (7.30) looming large.

“We’re in the right mindset for Friday now; it’s an opportunity for us,” said Marshall, who hopes his selection options may improve before the weekend.

“We brought Scott Murrell off as a precaution after he got a bang on his calf, Richard Moore got his ankle stood on and Rikki Sheriffe got a knock on his bicep.

“Hopefully, those three will all be okay for next week, as will Ben Johnston and Adam Robinson, potentially.

“Tommy Saxton’s doing some work now and we’ve got Keith Holden as well, so we do have some decisions in front of us.”

Sheriffe made his first Championship start for 18 months against Town in the centre after being recalled from his loan deal at Keighley, with Marshall positive about his contribution.

“I thought Rikki was solid; there were very few mistakes, he contributed well, got some line speed on the edge and I think his experience helped us,” said Marshall.