HALIFAX assistant coach Damian Ball has placed talk about the champions’ lowly league position off-limits ahead of Sunday’s showdown with 2011 pacesetters Leigh.
Fax have bagged just a single point from a possible nine so far this season, while Ian Millward’s Centurions top the table with a 100 per cent record after three games.
A home win for Matt Calland’s side this weekend could cut that gap to five points, but a defeat by more than 12 points would leave Fax facing a potentially insurmountable 11 point deficit after four rounds.
“I can see why people are adding points up left, right and centre, but all we can do is focus on performance and making improvements,” said Ball.
“Everyone is aware of the position we are in, but it is not something we are speaking about.
“The table is always there, but if the coaching staff spend their time looking at that and worrying about it, ultimately that is going to put the players under more pressure.
“Personally, I am not worried about this team.
“Matt is an excellent coach who won a Grand Final last year and sometimes I think some of the criticism he gets is a little bit unfair.
“The pressure he seems to be under at the moment is bang out of order in my opinion.
“It is always difficult to back up after a Grand Final win, I have experienced that myself as a player at Dewsbury a few years ago, but I have every faith in this bunch of players.”
Ball’s faith was bolstered by last Saturday night’s 36-26 Northern Rail Cup quarter final in Toulouse, which saw Fax book their place in tonight’s last-four draw alongside Featherstone, Leigh and Dewsbury.
“It was certainly an improvement,” said Ball.
“We did some really good things in the first half and it was quite a convincing performance in the end.
“The scoreline suggests it was quite a close game but if you look at the ins and outs of it there is certainly something there to build on.
“In terms of the confidence levels it has raised them through the roof.
“We seem to have trained this week with the bit between our teeth ahead of what is a really difficult game on Sunday and we are hopeful we can get some points together in the league now.
“It’s a big challenge, Leigh are top of the league and scoring points for fun, but we are up for that challenge.
“There is no reason why we cannot beat them.
“We just need to make sure we are meticulous and positive in everything we do and focus on the game in front of us.”
Click play on the console above to see more of the video interview with Damian Ball, plus all the tries from Fax’s win in Toulouse.
HALIFAX’S under 23s are in action at Leigh tonight 7.30)