Halifax coach Richard Marshall admitted he was more disappointed with the scoreline in Sunday’s 30-0 pre-season loss at Widnes than he was by the performance of his Championship part timers.
Widnes, who fielded a near full-strength starting side with an equally imposing 10 man bench compared to Fax’s seven, only led 6-0 at the Halton Stadium before pulling clear in the third quarter to give the scoreboard a lopsided look.
“I’m disappointed by that scoreline, because people will look at that and think it was a hammering, which it wasn’t,” said Marshall, whose side spent most of the second half on the back foot as the Vikings’ quality and depth plus a hefty penalty count left them feeding off scraps.
“It was far from that and I thought the first half we were good value.
“We were almost over the line a couple of times and we defended our own line very well; we kept keeping them out.
“We looked a harder team to score against and we frustrated them and forced them into errors.
“If I’m honest, I’m really disappointed about the penalty count, which ended up 15-2 or something.
“Come on, we’re a Championship team away from home playing against a Super League team with 24 of their top squad on duty.
“I thought we were penalised far too often for innocuous incidents and that’s probably taken some of the gloss off our performance.
“We changed the team in the second half and it went away from us a little bit.”
Those changes, which saw teenage half back Morgan Punchard defending on Fax’s right side, were ruthlessly exploited by Widnes, with a salvo of tries in that area effectively ending any semblance of a contest.
“We had a young edge on the right in the second half - Chester Butler, Liam Bent and Morgan - and they went into that and exposed us,” admitted Marshall.
“But we’ve got to put those players out there, there’s no point keeping them on the bench.
“The reality is that we’ve no one else, so we need to find out if they’re good enough to play at the level we want them to.
“At the moment, there is still work to be done but they’ll only get better from being put in that position and then going away and developing again.”