Marshall: I take responsibility for Challenge Cup selection decisions

editorial image

Halifax coach Richard Marshall said he “took responsibility” for his side’s exit from the Challenge Cup after a much-changed team sank without trace against League 1 Oldham at the Shay.

A little over a week after easing past Championship big guns Leigh, Fax were taught a lesson by Scott Naylor’s outfit, who ran out 27-6 winners to book a lucrative home tie against Super League Hull KR in the next round.

With chief playmaker Scott Murrell and influential forward Simon Grix in the East Stand with several other key stars, Fax looked rudderless for long spells and lost full back James Woodburn-Hall with an ankle injury that seems likely to rule him out of Saturday night’s Championship date in Toulouse.

“I’ll take responsibility for the team that went out there,” said Marshall, who admitted pre-match that his experimental side, which included rookie half back Adam Brook and young Welshman Connor Davies on debut, was selected with one eye on achieving success in France.

“I thought it was good enough to win the game, but never mind that it was certainly good enough to perform a lot better than that.

“Oldham took us to task; they came fired up, got a great start with the try and we couldn’t find any momentum.

“We had a young team, and they’ll learn from the experience of playing against a good League 1 side and what it takes to win those games.

“But our attitude wasn’t quite right compared to the opposition’s attitude.

“Overall, we were well below the standard we expect from ourselves.

“Would it have been better to go out there with a stronger team? Probably.

“Would that have affected us against Toulouse on Saturday night? Yes, it would.

“The weekend is important and if we go over there with an attitude like that and get rolled again, then it will have been a complete waste.

“Let’s not take anything away from Oldham’s performance. They came with a very simple game plan, kept pinning us in the corners, very similar to what we did to Leigh the other week.

“They deserved to win, there’s no doubt about that. They didn’t win it on the bounce of a ball or a disputed try.

“The scoreline blew out, which I am bitterly disappointed about; we pride ourselves on our defence and a League 1 side just put a hatful of points on us.”