Halifax coach Richard Marshall has given his players a stark warning about the dangers facing them as they prepare to try and open their 2019 Championship account against Leigh at the Shay on Sunday (3.0).
Having watched footage of the Centurions’ shock win over Toulouse last weekend, Marshall declared John Duffy’s side a more potent attacking force than Widnes, who thumped Fax 40-16 on the opening weekend.
“They are very, very good with the ball; they’re at least as good as Widnes are in that regard and maybe better,” said Marshall, who confirmed his post-Vikings review had been dominated by his own players’ poor discipline.
“They have no boundaries, no rules and they’ll put shift after shift on to try and break you down.
“That means we need to be a lot smarter this week in terms of dictating field position and where we want to play the game.
“We had two full sets in the Widnes half in the whole second half last week, which is ridiculous, but we scored from one and had a try disallowed from the other.
“Of all the penalties we conceded, four or five were just dumb play; the kind of thing you’d expect to see once a month.
“We just need to make sure we spend a lot more time down at the right of the field this week.
“Leigh bullied Toulouse; Toulouse are always going to make some errors because of the way they play, but Leigh made them make more errors than usual.
“John Duffy will have them fired up again and they’ll be coming to do exactly the same to us.
“But this is an important game for us, for our confidence and for where we want to be this season.
“It’s our first home game and we’re looking forward to it.”
Marshall said his team selection was unlikely to be radically different to the side that ran out in Cheshire, with back rower Shane Grady still a week away from fitness after close-season knee surgery.
Threequarter James Saltonstall, a non playing member of last weekend’s 19 man squad, could figure after a hamstring strain, while Marshall has not given up hope that Chester Butler could also recover from injury in time to play.
Hooker Ben Kaye will feature after passing a head injury protocol, while former Leeds rookie Reece Chapman-Smith, who has yet to play a game following his move from Headingley, is back in training after a knee injury.
“James is a week fitter than he was, so he’s a chance of being involved,” said Marshall, who said he was “not expecting” any dual-registration reinforcements after Castleford pulled Mitch Clark back on Saturday morning last week due to injury issues of their own.
“Chester didn’t run on Tuesday, but we’ll see how he recovers as the week goes on.
“If he’s fit to play, he’ll be involved.
“Ben will definitely play and Reece is running again, which is great.
“We want to see him on the field now, although whether that’s this week remains to be seen.”