Marshall praises Fax resilience after home success over Oldham

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Halifax coach Richard Marshall lauded his side’s resilience after they ground out a crucial 12-6 success in a game they dare not lose against Oldham at the Shay on Friday night.

After slipping to sixth on the Championship ladder following their loss at Batley, Marshall’s players produced a far more energetic defensive effort to edge out Scott Naylor’s outfit thanks to two tries from back rower Matt Sarsfield.

The spectacle was rarely pretty, with referee Warren Turley peppering Fax 15-10 in the penalty count on an increasingly sodden playing surface, and the home side’s relief at pocketing two points ahead of next Sunday’s Summer Bash date with Featherstone was palpable.

“The win was important, but how we performed defensively was more important,” said Marshall, who welcomed back Australian prop Mitch Cahalane into an otherwise unchanged team.

“We showed some resilience there; the penalty count was lopsided, we didn’t get a lot of calls and I thought we grew as a team the game went on.

“From one to 17, they all dug in for each other, not just Dane Manning this week.

“But on the one side you have the attitude and the aggression and on the other you have the smarts and the football nous and we only got one of those.

“When we get the two, both sides of the coin, we will be in a better position.

“We probably need to do that next week.”

Marshall acknowledged that his side were far from their best with the ball, with Oldham, who had four dual-registered Huddersfield players in their ranks, including the talented former Siddal junior Kruise Leeming at hooker, the cleverer team at times.

“We need to improve with the ball; it was a slow game, which didn’t do either team any favours,” said Marshall.

“Kicking games were paramount in those conditions and theirs was better than ours if we’re being honest.

“We were kicking for scores rather than repeat sets, but those kicks weren’t on the money tonight.

“If you don’t score from them, you start the next set a little bit on the back foot because you’ve got people out of position from chasing the kick.

“We didn’t build enough pressure or momentum; we kicked on the second tackle two or three times in that first half.

“You need to earn the right to win a game and when you’re kicking on tackle two, unless you score, it’s a dumb play in those conditions.

“I thought Gareth Owen kicked very well for them, so there’s a lesson for us there, and Leeming was a constant threat.”