Halifax need to rediscover recipe of recent success

James Saltonstall. PIC: Simon Hall.
James Saltonstall. PIC: Simon Hall.

Threequarter James Saltonstall believes Halifax need to go back to basics as they prepare to host Swinton in the Championship on Sunday (3.0).

Fax go into the game with a 50 per cent record after four rounds, but on the back of a sub-par 46-16 reverse at Featherstone Rovers last weekend.

James Saltonstall. PIC: Simon Hall.

James Saltonstall. PIC: Simon Hall.

And Saltonstall, who has started all four games at centre, didn’t mince his words after the Post Office Road debacle.

“It wasn’t good enough, that’s all there is to it,” said the former Siddal junior, who began his professional career with Warrington before joining his hometown club.

“It was a poor performance and we can’t be dishing that up again.

“In all four games, we’ve not really played a good quality 80 minutes but we’ve got through in a couple of them.

“But you come to Featherstone, who are a good side, and they put 80 minutes together and they’ve taught us a lesson.

“I think our attitude needs to improve a bit; we need to carry the ball harder and get back to defending strongly.

“There was a lot of buzz at the start of the year about bringing in new players and we’ve maybe got distracted by that.

“The players we brought in were to help us play a bit more rugby, but maybe in these conditions it’s not ideal for that.

“For the next couple of weeks, we need to focus on the basics, grind out some wins and get the confidence back up again.

“Over the last four years, we’ve been good at the tough stuff; rolling our sleeves up and grinding these results out.

“That’s what we’ve been known for and that’s got us to where we’ve finished the last two seasons.

“We’ve been dishing out a lot of errors and our discipline has not been great, so we end up without the ball and defending a lot which is obviously more fatiguing.

“That’s when teams get a roll on and it’s hard to stop.

“We just need to get to the end of our sets, cut out the penalties and build some pressure on teams.”

Saltonstall has spent the bulk of his four year stay at Fax on the wing, but moved into midfield - where he played as a junior - in the absence of Chester Butler.

“The club signed a few players over the winter, so it’s a bigger squad and you need to be prepared to move around and play in different positions,” he said.

“I don’t mind either position; when the team’s playing well, it’s enjoyable wherever you play.

“After a game like Sunday though, there’s nothing good to come out of it.

“I think wherever we play, we need to take some responsibility to play well individually and collectively.

“At the moment, we’re not doing that.”

Rugby league is mourning the death of former Great Britain coach Peter Fox at the age of 85.

Fox, the oldest of three brothers from the former mining village of Sharlston, near Wakefield, who all made a big impact in rugby league.

He will be remembered as one of the game’s great characters who had a fine playing career before going on to enjoy outstanding success as a coach, especially with Featherstone Rovers and Bradford Northern.

He played professionally for well over a decade, for Featherstone, Hull KR, Hunslet and in two lengthy stints with Batley.

But it was as a coach that he will be best remembered, having guided Featherstone to Challenge Cup glory against Bradford at Wembley in 1973 and then winning the Championship twice with Bradford.

He earned the position of Great Britain and England coach, and also took great pride in the success he enjoyed as coach of Yorkshire, with a 100 per cent record against Lancashire in the Rodstock War of the Roses series from 1985-91.

Ralph Rimmer, chief executive of the Rugby Football League, said: “Peter will be remembered as a successful and distinctive coach, and also as a unique personality.”