Marshall’s Fax demolish Sheffield with ‘ruthless’ performance

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Halifax coach Richard Marshall praised a “ruthless” performance from his players after they bounced back from consecutive losses with a 54-0 battering of Sheffield Eagles at Wakefield’s Belle Vue ground.

Fax were dominant from the start, racking up a 32-0 interval lead before finishing the job after the break, despite losing captain Scott Murrell and full back Will Sharp to injury.

Centre James Woodburn-Hall was the dangerman, the young Londoner scoring two tries himself, teeing up a hat trick for rookie winger Conor McGrath and giving the Eagles’ veteran PNG back Menzie Yere a thoroughly uncomfortable afternoon.

Woodburn-Hall’s performance emphasised how much Fax will miss the England Students player when he goes to Australia for the World Cup early next month.

“We performed at a really good level, from one to 17,” said Marshall, whose side stay fifth, three points shy of fourth-placed Featherstone.

“We’ve been ruthless in our approach and put a good team to the sword.

“The last 20 minutes we had all sorts of players in all sorts of positions.

“It’s testament to the players after coming through a couple of losses to have a response like that.

“We can play at that level, we can play better than that probably.

“You have to make things happen and James certainly did that today.

“We had looked at the way they defend and we had a bit of a plan on that side and we delivered it today, which we haven’t done the last two games.

“There’s not been anything wrong with the plan for the last two weeks, we’ve just not executed it; this week, we nailed it to the letter.

“James was very good, he’s strong and skilful and we’ll miss him when he goes to Australia.

“He’s going, even though he’s playing and playing well.

“At the start of the season I was against it, but it’s for three games and it’s important for his career and his development.

“We can cover for him; Conor’s come in and scored three tries and banged people in defence, he was good, very solid.

“It’s great for us and great for him.

“What we believe in is developing players and I’m happy we’re doing that.

“We get judged on results as well and we got a good one today.

“In terms of the top four, we’re probably going to need a slip up by someone and we’re going to have to win most if not all of our fixtures, but we’ll keep preparing each week and turning up ready to win.”

Marshall made a significant tactical change before kick off, moving Simon Grix from back row to loose forward, with the former Warrington star producing a commanding performance before being rested in the second half.

“I have tried on two or three occasions to get that formation on the field and we’ve not been able to do it because of injuries or circumstances,” said Marshall.

“Simon controlled the first 20 minutes; he dictated the pace of the game, his distribution was first class.

“You need certain things at certain times and at the start of the game we needed some experience in the middle and he gave us that.”