Halifax assistant coach Simon Grix picked out the performances of young forwards Will Calcott and Frazer Morris as the highlight of an otherwise disappointing Super 8s Qualifiers clash at Leigh.
Fax sank without trace at the LSV, with Grix’s absence on the field - along with captain Scott Murrell - leaving the visitors rudderless for long periods as the Centurions romped to a 40-6 victory to keep their hopes of Super League survival alive.
Calcott, a Calderdale junior who has graduated through Fax’s reserve system, and Morris, the young brother of first team forward Elliot and a former Wakefield Trinity player, both made energetic senior debuts in a game that was largely memorable for all the wrong reasons.
“I thought Frazer and Will both stood up and they were the highlight of what was a pretty poor game for us,” said Grix, who fronted the post match media conference in place of head coach Richard Marshall.
“We’re proud of those boys tonight.
“Frazer had a back injury at Wakefield and we’ve picked him up after he’s been released by them.
“He’s worked his way back to fitness and that was his opportunity to show what he can do in regards to next season.
“Cally we know a bit more about because he’s come through our system and he’ll be better for that experience.
“Overall, Leigh won the energy battle early on, kept us where they wanted us and because of that they were able to play without as much pressure because we weren’t able to get off our line.
“They really dictated the game all night.
“We weren’t able to build any pressure, which meant we lacked energy and organisation when we did have the ball.”
The absence of Murrell’s kicking game was most keenly felt; with six players putting boot to ball in the opening half hour as Fax tried - and failed - to find the range and direction to force Leigh back.
It wasn’t until the 39th minute, when back rower Shane Grady tried for a second time, that they finally managed to pin the home side in their own quarter.
“Scott’s our chief kicker, but he’s not going to be there forever and people need to learn and find a way to do the job when he’s not there,” said Grix, who is expected to return for next week’s final game against Featherstone at the Shay (3.0).
“I think we were a little bit disappointed; we expected to finish in better field position than we did.
“But that inexperience of setting a kick up showed; we were kicking off sidelines and we had a multitude of people having a go.
“I think Grady probably did the best kick, but it is what it is.
“We didn’t have the personnel out there to do it properly.
“Since we played Toulouse away in July, apart from the Featherstone game we’ve been playing full time opposition each week and it’s taken its toll.”