Halifax coach Richard Marshall picked out Chester Butler for praise after the young back rower celebrated his contract extension with a key role in his side’s 32-18 win at Batley.
Victory at Mount Pleasant catapulted Fax from fifth to third in the Championship and they now sit just a point behind second-placed Toulouse ahead of next Sunday’s trip to top four rivals Leigh.
Butler, the late-developing grandson of Fax legend Colin Dixon, penned an upgraded deal for 2019 on Friday and celebrated with a try and a classy second-half assist as Marshall’s side turned a 22-6 interval lead into a vital two points.
“Chester had an outstanding game on the right edge, scored a great try and set one up for Ben Heaton,” said Marshall, whose side came under some pressure in the second half, but never saw their buffer on the scoreboard dip into single figures.
“He was strong throughout and while he’s got a lot of development left in him, he came up with a special play in that second half when Ben scored.
“Overall, I’d like to have it been a bit of a bigger win with a little less stress in the second half.
“But we needed to win; it was about coming here and doing the job, we couldn’t contemplate not coming here and winning.
“We put an exciting first half together and we were tough and resilient in the second half and weathered the storm coming up the hill in the second half.
“It’s always a hard place to come and play, I think that’s only the second time I’ve won here in the four years I’ve been at the club.
“We need to concentrate on the full 80 minutes, because we won’t be able to win the games we have coming up if we’re giving penalties away and not making our contacts as well as we were in the first half.
“We bombed three or four tries; not getting the ball down, forward passes, not being in the right place.
“It’s great that we’re tough, but we also need to be smart.
“We’ve got a massive game next week at Leigh now and we’re already excited about that.
“We’re in a good spot, but we’re not finished yet.”
Fax called up Londoner James Woodburn-Hall to fill the full back berth left vacant by Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e’s shock switch to Castleford last Thursday.
The Samoan played just four games for the club after being released by Toronto, making a huge impact and, consequently, leaving a huge hole when he exercised a Super League clause in his contract to join Fax’s dual-registration partners.
“Q had a clause in his contract that he could go if a Super League club came in for him,” said Marshall, who declined to confirm reports the Tigers swooped late to nab the veteran number one from under the noses of top flight battlers Salford.
“We knew that from the start and he probably wouldn’t have come if that clause hadn’t been in there.
“I think for the five or six weeks we’ve had him, he’s been worth whatever clauses were in his contract.
“We wish him all the best at Castleford; he’s in the twilight of what is a relatively short career and he’s got a fantastic opportunity.
“There were a couple of interested parties and Daryl (Powell) was aware of his availability.
“His name did crop up in conversation, but I don’t sign Castleford players and Daryl doesn’t sign Halifax players.
“He was fantastic while he was here and we’d welcome him back with open arms if he was
available to us on dual registration.
“There is no animosity whatsoever from the players or staff.
“James came in and did some nice things within the game and we’re in the market to see if we can strengthen as well.
“We don’t have pots of money, but we’ll look around and see what’s available.
“It’s not necessarily about a full back; it’s about players with the quality and attitude to improve us.”