Halifax haven’t won a game in the Qualifiers thus far but they’ll be relieved to be back on home turf this weekend to face Salford Red Devils. After a close defeat to Sheffield Eagles in round three, Fax are nearing their first victory but will it come against Ian Watson’s Red Devils who got hammered at Bradford two weeks ago? Sky Sports will be broadcasting this game live on Saturday at 3pm.
Last Time Out
Halifax visited the Keepmoat Stadium for a bout with fellow Championship team Sheffield Eagles. Despite being in front on three separate occasions, the West Yorkshire side lost 28-24. Adam Tangata put the blue and whites in front after nine minutes but Rob Worrincy struck back for Sheffield a few moments later. Tries from Steve Tyrer and Gareth Potts helped Halifax’s chances of gaining their first win in the middle eights. However, before half-time came around, Pat Walker cut the deficit by six points with a converted try. Worrincy’s second try on 54 minutes levelled the game for a second time, but Halifax took advantage once again when Scott Murrell touched down with the final quarter of the match looming. When it mattered most, Halifax couldn’t keep hold of their lead due to Quentin Laulu-Togagae and Worrincy, again, scoring a try apiece.
Going into the Bradford match with two wins on the spin, nobody could have envisaged the almighty collapse provided by Salford Red Devils at the Provident Stadium. A 41-10 defeat was more than deserved as Bradford dominated in every single department. Despite this, Salford were only 13 points down at half-time after Dale Ferguson, Danny Williams and Jake Mullaney all scored tries for the hosts. Mullaney also kicked a drop-goal to extend his side’s lead to three scores. Salford’s only try of the first half came from Rangi Chase. It was all Bradford after the break, the Bulls scored four more tries in the second stanza. Mullaney completed his double in the early stages of the second half, before Danny Addy, James Clare and Adrian Purtell all crossed the whitewash for the hosts. Iain Thornley notched a consolation four-pointer for the Red Devils, who will have been bitterly disappointed with their shoddy excuse of a performance in West Yorkshire.
Every dangerous attack put on by Halifax at the Keepmoat came through either Scott Murrell or Ben Johnston. Both are at different ends of the age scale but their partnership is skilful to say the very least. Any complacency will be capitalised on, as seen when Ben Johnston broke the Eagles line on numerous occasions. Also, Murrell got on the scoresheet so try assists aren’t the only thing to expect from the half-backs of Halifax. Salford have the mercurial Rangi Chase in their ranks, and when he’s on form the Red Devils are very hard to stop. By his side in the halves is Michael Dobson, a player who has played at the highest level in the UK and Australia. Attacking options shouldn’t be a problem for the Super League side but Halifax aren’t there to be underestimated, especially at The Shay.
A win for Halifax on Saturday will really put the cat amongst the Qualifiers pigeons for Salford. Two consecutive losses against Championship sides will make people question the Red Devils’ Super League status. Richard Marshall’s Halifax are a tough nut to crack. Their two spirited defeats against top tier teams in the opening couple of rounds in the Qualifiers are an example of that. Can they get that elusive victory at the fourth time of asking? – Salford by 16
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