Halifax coach Richard Marshall admitted his side are in a “tough spot” after an injury weakened line up slipped to a 44-22 defeat at Bradford in the Championship Shield on Sunday.
Fax, missing a handful of key players through injury, lived with their full time opponents for periods of a drab contest, but never really recovered from a sloppy second quarter which saw the Bulls open up a decisive 30-8 lead.
It was a fifth straight defeat for Marshall and his players ahead of next weekend’s home game against Dewsbury (3.0).
“I thought we did well in that first quarter; we more than matched them,” said Marshall, whose side would have been closer to a fifth successive derby win if Scott Murrell, Gareth Moore and Connor Robinson had managed to convert more than one of their team’s five tries.
“The turning point was probably the high ball when Moss went the length of the field; that allowed all the negative emotions of the last few weeks to come back into the players’ minds.
“I thought we were a lot better in the second half, we controlled the speed of the game a lot better.
“We were better on goal line than we were last week, but it’s still a frustrating time for us.
“We’re not training well enough during the week and we’re not performing well enough at the weekend.
“It’s a tough spot; we’ve lost five in a row now, which is unprecedented for us.
“Our attitude isn’t good enough at the moment and our skills aren’t good enough either.
“It was better today; Brandon Moore takes the ball 20 metres from the tryline, runs it with some vigour, breaks some tackles and scores a try.
“He’s our second smallest player, so that’s not technique, it’s just desire and we need more of that.
“Overall, we improved this week and if we improve again next week then we’ll have a chance of getting a win.”
With first choice centres Steve Tyrer and Ben Heaton both absent through injury, Marshall fielded Chester Butler, a debutant against Sheffield last weekend, and Hull-bound Nick Rawsthorne, making his first senior start, against Bradford’s Adrian Purtell and Kris Welham.
“The young kids did well; we said we’d have a look at them and how far they go into this competition depends on them, if they’re playing well, then they’ll stick in there,” said Marshall.
“Chester and Nick have gone up against two Super League quality players there and it’s good to expose them to that.
“I’d say it was a calculated risk playing them both, but in reality we didn’t have a choice when Ben Heaton pulled out on Friday; it was a case of ‘Go and enjoy it, boys’.
“If you put players like Kaye, Grix, Fairbank, Sarsfield, Heaton, Tyrer and Manning into that game though, then it’s a different contest all together for me.”