Coach Richard Marshall concluded his side “didn’t give themselves a chance” to compete for the win against Super League outfit Widnes in the Super 8s Qualifiers on Sunday.
Fax made an error laden start against Denis Betts’ side, who finished bottom of the pile after the league season, with the Vikings, who have a wage bill of around £1.5 million, dominating the opening half to the tune of 18-0.
They stretched their lead to 26-0 with two tries early in the second half, before a Ben Heaton brace - taking the winger’s tally to six in two Qualifiers matches - breathed life into Fax’s performance at 26-12.
“We had a really poor start, didn’t we?” said Marshall. “We didn’t really give ourselves a chance.
“It wasn’t great and it was something we’d spoken about during the week.
“We gave away three penalties in those opening minutes and didn’t complete our first four sets, which is something we’d looked to do.
“We were up against it then and we definitely need to start better than that next week against a very good Warrington team.
“We had a period in the second half where we put some plays together and the combinations worked really well.
“We put them under pressure and probably had them a little bit worried at 26-12.
“We had three opportunities at that stage - Simon Grix, Steve Tyrer and Rob Worrincy - and if we’d taken one or two of those it might have been interesting, but it was always going to be difficult to win the game after the start we made.
“We spoke in the week about not getting well into the game before thinking ‘Hey, we’re in this’, we need to get that out of the way really early on.”
Fax seemed to struggle with Widnes’ play around the ruck, in attack and defence, with Cumbrian referee Gareth Hewer booed from the field at the end of both halves.
“It’s difficult, the level of intensity is different to the Championship; the game last week was and it went up another couple of notches today,” said Marshall, who remained diplomatic on the interpretations of the match officials.
“In and around the ruck it was too fast for us.
“Sometimes you need to go through those experiences to know what you need to work on and we had a tough lesson today.
“I’m not frustrated by the referees.
“We’re a Championship team and we need to embrace what it is and raise our levels.
“It’s tough for a part time club with 19 fit players, but we’re in here and we’re fighting.
“We’re positive; not one player turned on each other out there, which can happen in those situations.”