By Jacob Kilbride
Richard Marshall stated that he’s optimistic about Halifax’s future, both on and off the field, following a 34-6 defeat to Leeds Rhinos in the Betfred Super 8s Qualifiers yesterday.
Halifax, the only part-time team in the eight-side competition, suffered their sixth straight defeat to Leeds at a packed MBi Shay Stadium, with the reigning champions showing their class after a level first-half.
Despite the result, Marshall believes the club is heading in the right direction and reflected on areas for improvement heading into the 2019 season.
“We thought that the Championship was going to be at its most competitive this season, with Leigh, Featherstone and all the competitive sides in there,” Marshall said in his post-match press conference.
“But, we managed to overcome all of that and make it into the four. Considering Widnes and whoever else will be in the competition next year, we’ve got a genuine opportunity next year.
“We’ll have to invest, on and off the field. On the whole, we’re really optimistic about the future here at Halifax.
“I think to cut that gap between ourselves and the other sides in this competition, we need to strengthen with a couple of key individuals at key times in games where we’ve lacked that quality.
“We’ve got a great work-man like attitude and spirit but when you look at game-changers like Brad Dwyer out there today, we need a couple of those.
“We’ve got to be better in attack and we add three or four opportunities in that second-half. The skills and the smarts have got to be better as well.”
Reflecting on the game, the Fax boss believes that the large amount of defending his side had to do in the first-half impact on the dominant showing from Leeds in the second period.
“If the game was 40 minutes long, I’d be a very pleased coach!” added Marshall.
“I thought that we went toe to toe with Leeds, who are a fantastic team and were desperate today. I thought we absorbed lots of pressure in that first-half and our goal line defence was really to stop them on numerous occasions.
“I do think that was the reason why we conceded the amount of points that we did in that second half. But, I can’t ask for more effort than that.”