Marshall looking ahead to London after Fax end wait for home win over Rovers

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Coach Richard Marshall was already turning his attention to Halifax’s next ‘challenge’ after seeing two tries from winger Will Sharp set them on their way to a 34-20 win over Featherstone.

Sharp’s first half brace set Fax on their way to their first home win over Rovers for a decade and lifted them to third in the Championship with three games remaining.

The first of those is in London next Sunday, where a win over the Broncos - who currently sit two points behind, but with a superior points difference - would go a long way towards sealing a place in the top four and the Super 8s Qualifiers.

“Today was about doing the job, about winning,” said Marshall.

“We said a couple of weeks ago that to make the four we were going to have to do things we’ve not done before.

“I’d not been involved in a team that’s beaten Featherstone here before and I’ve not been to London and won with this team.

“They’re all challenges and it’s about meeting those one by one and ticking them off.

“We’re keeping our feet firmly on the ground; I’m pretty sure there will be a few more twists and turns over the next three weeks.

“We’re in a better spot than if we’d lost, but that wouldn’t have put us out of it either.

“There’s a lot to play for and it’s the same for Featherstone, but it’s in our hands.

“There’s a lot at stake for all the clubs involved, but I think we thrive on the pressure.

“We’ve got three tough games; being at home for the last two will help us, but we’re away down there next week.

“It’s going to be difficult, but we can overcome it.

“It’s all to play for, and that’s 100 percent down to the players’ attitudes and the work done by the backroom staff.”

On a sweltering afternoon, the temperature on the field matched the weather, with Fax’s Ben Johnston and Jack Ormondroyd sin binned after a scuffle early in the second half, Sharp and Rovers’ Gareth Hock doing time in the closing stages and Jacob Fairbank getting the game’s fifth yellow card for blocking a quick restart, leaving a 12-versus-11 contest at one stage.

While others were losing their heads though, Fax’s captain Scott Murrell was keeping his, laying on three tries in a tactical masterclass.

“I thought Scott was outstanding,” said Marshall.

“He said to me afterwards that he’ll ‘only turn up for the big games’ now.

“Well, he’s got three big games over the next three weeks, so keep turning up.

“He was great, fantastic.

“People want to see two teams going at it; they’ll pay to watch attitude and we had that today.

“It got a bit messy and I thought the referee handled it pretty well.

“I wasn’t too happy with Jacob throwing the ball away, but it was hot and it’s about keeping your concentration.

“Overall, I thought we were so tough and we nailed the plan for the most part.

“We completed at 90 per cent, which is unheard of for us.

“There was that spell in the first half when they forced three or four drop outs and I was probably more confident then than I have been all season; the players are really good at defending those plays and that kind of possession.

“We didn’t have much possession in ‘good ball’ in the first half, only two or three chances, but we took them.”