Halifax coach Richard Marshall spoke of the “couple” of key signings he believes could help take the club to the next level in the wake of a sixth Super 8s Qualifiers defeat, this time at the hands of Leeds.
The Rhinos, last season’s Grand Final winners, won 34-6 at the Shay, with hooker Brad Dwyer scoring two tries early in the second half to tip the balance their way after a rock-solid Fax held them to a 6-6 interval stalemate.
Overall, despite the standing ovation his players received after the final whistle, it was a familiar story for Fax in the Qualifiers: Competitive, but lacking the class to finish the job.
Fax are likely to opt for consolidation again this winter rather than wholesale change, with Marshall keen to focus on quality rather than quantity when it comes to any new recruits.
“We’ve got an opportunity to build,” said Marshall, who described the atmosphere generated by more than 4,700 fans as the best since he arrived at the club four seasons ago.
“We need to invest, on and off the field, but we can see the potential here.
“We probably need to strengthen; we’ve probably lacked a couple of key individuals at key times through the season.
“Look at Dwyer; he changed the game for them in that 10 minutes after half time.
“They were nervous and edgy coming off at half time, you could see that and sense it, but they’ve got some class individuals that made the difference for them.
“We have the spirit and the attitude, so that’s probably the difference.
“If the game was 40 minutes, we’d have been very happy.
“We went toe to toe with a fantastic team and we absorbed a lot of pressure in that first half.
“Our goal line defence was very good and that was probably part of the reason we conceded so many in the second half; we put a lot into that first half.
“It was a bit like the Halifax in the Championship, really making teams work hard to break us down, so that was really good.
“Our game management was good in that first half, but we just didn’t have any ball in that second half.
“I can’t ask for any more in terms of effort and attitude, but Leeds raised the tempo of the game in the second half.
“I think the players are a bit frustrated about that, but we must credit Leeds, they needed to win and they did.”
Fax, still lacking the concussed Simon Grix, fielded Brandon Moore at loose forward with the young Cumbrian impressive again as he alternated between there and his usual slot at hooker.
And with James Woodburn-Hall dangerous on the flank, there was still plenty for Marshall to be positive about ahead of next Saturday night’s final fixture in London.
“We are where we deserve to be, but we haven’t given up and we’ll go to London next week looking for a win,” said Marshall.
“I was impressed with Brandon Moore again and James Woodburn-Hall was great, really good.
“Unfortunately, we’ve lost Sion Jones with a concussion and Shane Grady with a really nasty knock when his head hit the floor.
“We’ll probably have to go without those two with it being a Saturday game.”