Super 8s Qualifiers: Fax must get sharper with the ball, says Marshall

Fax's Shane Grady takes on the Featherstone defence
Fax's Shane Grady takes on the Featherstone defence

Halifax coach Richard Marshall said he needs to advance his team’s attacking game if they are to make further progress in 2018.

Fax ended the Super 8s Qualifiers winless after missing out 26-20 at home to Featherstone Rovers on Sunday, a loss that cost them an extra £50K in prize money.

The home side enjoyed plenty of possession, especially before the break, but struggled to find top gear in attack, with only a brace of late tries from wingers Rob Worrincy and Ben Heaton narrowing the gap to John Duffy’s side.

Heaton was then red carded after the final hooter, along with his former teammate Richard Moore, after a brawl broke out on the final play of the game.

“We need to be more clinical, smarter and execute our plays better; that final pass in key areas is the part of our game where we are going to have to improve,” said Marshall, who emphasised the club’s season had been a success from the moment they claimed a top four league finish to make the Qualifiers.

“I think we need to be happier to spend time on the opposition goal line rather than trying to score off every play.

“That’s been a theme for us all year; We put too much ball down on their line and struggled to take our chances.

“Defensively I don’t think we are far off; we’ve worked well as a unit this year and I’ve been pleased with our attitude.

“I’ve been happy with the way we’ve conducted ourselves throughout the Qualifiers, we’ve been in and around almost every game, but it probably caught up on us a bit today.

“I didn’t think we dealt with their key players well enough, that was probably the difference.

“We got ourselves back in it and gave ourselves a fighting chance, but we left ourselves too much to do.

“There was plenty of effort and fight for the shirt, but I thought their key players were better at crucial times.

“We were running on empty after the Catalans game a few weeks ago, but we certainly didn’t lack effort today.

“I don’t want to take anything away from us; to be where we are after that last month of the Championship season is testament to the players.”

The financial impact of Sunday’s loss remains to be seen, with Fax’s initial top four league finish, that sealed £450K in prize money rather than this year’s £200,000, already providing a significant boost.

But with long serving chairman Michael Steele and director Mike Riley both announcing they will be stepping down from the board, the running of the club is left in the hands of local businessmen Mark Moore and Pete McNamara.

“It means we probably need to work a little bit harder to find that funding commercially,” said Marshall.

“It might impact on squad size; there might be a couple of players we can’t sign now. We’ll see.”