Marshall talks QLT replacement as Fax eye up third place

Halifax coach Richard Marshall has warned his side not to miss their big opportunity against Batley on Saturday.

The part-timers will move up to third in the Championship with victory over the Bulldogs in what is a game in hand for both sides.

Victory would see Fax go above London, Featherstone and Leigh, all of whom have budgets that dwarf Marshall’s underdogs.

But they must deliver the goods at Mount Pleasant, a ground traditionally difficult to go to, and Marshall has made his side aware of the challenge ahead of them.

“It will discredit everything we did last week if we fall short,” Marshall said of Fax, who beat Featherstone at the Summer Bash last weekend.

“We’re a game behind so the pressure is on at the top. If we get this one it puts us in a stronger position, but we have to forget that and think about performance.

“We performed admirably last week and we were outstanding at times. But Batley will sense an opportunity after a tough game last week, but we do too as they played Dewsbury and came out on the wrong side. There’s a genuine opportunity for both teams but we’ll be going all out to get that victory and push up the table.”

To do just that, they will have to do it without Quentin Laulu-Togagae after he completed a move to Castleford this week.

Despite spending just six weeks with the club, the Samoan international made a very evident difference to Fax, notably setting up the crucial try in their win over Featherstone last week.

Although Marshall conceded it was a blow, he believes Fax can replace him.

“We only had a fleeting romance with Q but it served its purpose while he was here,” Marshall said.

“He goes to Cas with our best wishes. Players at any age with aspirations to play at a higher level, we would never stand in their way, whether it be a young lad like Nick Rawsthorne or a senior one like Q.

“I’m sure we’ll see him a Fax shirt again. He’s having a week to settle in with his new club. We have to look at the next person to fill that position, whether that be Will Sharp, James Woodburn-Hall or Ben Heaton.”

And Marshall dismissed suggestions he had refused to play for the club.

“No, we can rubbish that straight away. If he had clearance to play I’m sure he would have done but admin and logistics meant that wasn’t possible. But like I said, we need to look at the next person for that option which is what is best for Halifax. If he’s available in the next few weeks we’ll take him back with open arms. I think he’ll tell you we have a fantastic environment that he’ll speak about in a very positive light. I think we helped him recapture his confidence and the love for the game.”