Marshall ‘pleased’ as Fax pitch themselves firmly into top four race

Will Maher takes Fax forward against London
Will Maher takes Fax forward against London

Halifax coach Richard Marshall watched his side climb back into the thick of the scramble for a top four finish with an impressive 26-16 win over London Broncos.

Two tries from centre Steve Tyrer and a miracle finish from young winger Conor McGrath were the scoring highlights as Fax moved up to sixth, level on points with Leigh and only two behind London, with games in hand on all the sides above them.

In an action-packed encounter, Fax were briefly reduced to 11 men after losing Ben Johnston and Brandon Moore to the sin bin, but roared back with three tries in the final seven minutes of the first half and a fourth in the early minutes of the second to lay the platform for a crucial win.

“We are pretty pleased with it as a performance,” said Marshall, who had to reshuffle his side just before kick off after hooker Ben Kaye pulled up.

“The time to start talking about top four places is a fair way off, but we did need to beat someone above us.

“There was quite a bit of adversity in there; we lost Ben literally a minute before kick off with an Achilles problem, we had a couple of players sin-binned and we lost the penalty count, so to come out the other side was very pleasing.

“Our team ethic was outstanding; we got on a bit of a roll before half time, kept our momentum and played on the front foot.

“We shut things down a bit in the second half and our skill level dropped off a bit.

“We had a couple of chances to put the game to bed and didn’t quite take them.

“But that’s credit to London, they’re a good team; they’ve been running in 40 points a game and not conceding too many either.

“They’re a very threatening team, but I thought our pack was dominant.”

In Kaye’s absence, Moore turned in a fine 70-minute effort at the ruck, broken only by his yellow card for dissent during a fractious opening half hour, with back rower Shane Grady and centre Chester Butler the game’s other outstanding individuals.

“Brandon was excellent, he really took their forwards on,” said Marshall.

“We were below full strength, so to be able to bring those young players in and see them perform like that was a positive.

“Conor has been with us a couple of years and I thought he was fantastic today.

“We could have used other players in that position and he showed he really merited his place.

“Generally, I thought that right edge with him and Chester over there was much improved.

“James Green came in from Cas and really added something to us this week; he got at the right people at the right times.

“There is a bit to shout about, but we need to build on it; have our best week in practice this week and then come out and perform again against Swinton next Sunday.”