Halifax coach Richard Marshall praised an ‘impressive’ display from his players after they romped to a 38-18 Championship win over pre-season title favourites Leigh at the Shay.
Fax, with returning back rower Shane Grady in hat-trick form, led 28-0 at the break to pile the misery on an expensively assembled Centurions side who have now won just once in six games.
Leigh briefly closed the gap in the second half, with Craig Hall scoring two tries directly from Fax errors, but Marshall’s reshuffled side, which saw James Woodburn-Hall shift to full back and Ben Johnston recalled after a month on the sidelines, never looked like letting their grip slip.
“It was an impressive performance; I thought we nailed the gameplan in that first half,” said Marshall, whose side host Oldham in the Challenge Cup next weekend.
“We didn’t give them any room to breathe and we stifled them.
“All the things that haven’t been going well for us, that we haven’t been doing well, came off for us.
“There was a bit of luck within that, but I thought the most positive team won today.
“They’re a good side and I think they’ll end up in the top four at the end of the year.
“They got a couple of tries off our errors and if you take those out of the game you’re looking at a bigger margin.
“We still need to eradicate those scruffy moments out of our game, because we can’t rely on the opposition being a bit off.
“We managed the game really well, I thought Murrell Scott and Ben Johnston controlled it from minute one to minute 80.
“Simon Grix was really solid in the middle and Grady came in and got a hat trick, which is good going for him.
“Our challenge now is to work out what we did well and use that as our template, as our benchmark, for the next games.
“We’ve done it for 15 or 20 minutes so far in other games, but today it was much closer to a full game.
“We got to grips with it all and got a thoroughly deserved win.”
As well as recalling Johnston and Grady, Marshall also rang the changes up front, with rookie Sion Jones and Castleford’s France prop Gadwin Springer playing ahead of regular trio Dan Fleming, Elliot Morris and Brandon Douglas.
“There were a few changes, we felt we needed to freshen it up a bit,” said Marshall.
“Ben didn’t pass his concussion test after the first game, then other people were playing pretty well so he had to be patient.
“He did a good job; I just hope it doesn’t take players being left out for them to realise how good they can be.
“We’re lucky to have players who can interchange between a number of positions and that paid dividends for us today with James Woodburn-Hall and Simon Grix playing in different roles.
“Gadwin came in and put two good stints in for us.
“We had a few players missing out today who could have played; there is pressure for them to perform.”