Marshall: Rovers loss largely Fax’s fault

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Largely self-inflicted: That was Halifax coach Richard Marshall’s assessment of Sunday’s 24-12 Championship defeat by Featherstone at the Shay.

On a frustrating afternoon, Fax - who had lost hooker Ben Kaye with a thumb injury during the warm up and then saw full back Miles Greenwood stretchered off with a broken leg - never really recovered from conceding two early tries that gifted Andy Hay’s visitors a 10-0 lead.

Rovers, with four dual-registered players from Wakefield in their side, were firmly under the cosh for long spells, but despite a string of line breaks Fax struggled to turn their dominance into points.

“I’m disappointed with our start; going 10-0 down in the manner we did,” said Marshall, whose side now host Dewsbury next weekend (3.0) looking to avoid a third successive home loss.

“Losing Miles, who is a key player, certainly didn’t help and that is going to hurt us hard.

“He’s broken his leg and everyone in that dressing room wishes him the best with his recovery.

“We got ourselves back in the game to win it, but our game management and skill level wasn’t good enough to finish the job.

“We forced the ball when we didn’t need to and that meant we didn’t get the result.

“It’s not bad luck; we were just a little bit off our game.

“I think if we’d been on our game from the start and didn’t go 10-0 down like that it’s a different afternoon.

“We did a good job around the ruck, we played quick and smart at times, but we didn’t maintain that.

“It wasn’t to be.”

The home side’s cause wasn’t aided by the second half sin binning of skipper Scott Murrell, who collided with Rovers’ hooker Sam Irwin as he kicked the ball.

“That certainly didn’t help,” said Marshall.

“We want to put pressure on half backs, or anyone who is kicking the football.

“My initial reaction was that it wasn’t anything untoward, but I’d need to look at it again.

“In the end though, there were too many things we contributed to, not the referee, not Featherstone, and that’s why we didn’t get the result.

“We are competing, but we don’t have the quality in the side at the moment to win games with 12 men.

“We don’t want to be getting players sin binned, we don’t want to be turning the ball over early in the tackle count and we don’t want to be conceding penalties.

“We did all those things yesterday.”

Individually, the bright spot for Marshall was young half back Ben Johnston, a late inclusion on the bench after Kaye withdrew, who played full back, hooker and finally half back with distinction.

“Ben’s spritely and he’s a good player,” said Marshall.

“I think he’s maybe run at full back a couple of times since I’ve been here, but that would be it.

“We wanted to minimise the disruption to the rest of the team, so he slotted straight in there and I thought he was great.

“James Saltonstall has been one of our top performers and he did well there too later in the game; we’ve got some depth there.”