TOMORROW’S RARE visit of Leeds Rhinos is Halifax’s “cup final”, coach Richard Marshall says.
Halifax, who finished fourth in the Betfred Championship and have yet to win in the Qualifiers, have not played Rhinos since being relegated from Super League in 2003.
They were hammered 62-4 by Salford Red Devils in their previous home game, but have given a good account of themselves against Hull KR and Widnes Vikings.
“This is our cup final and we’re treating it a little bit like that,” said Marshall, who was a member of the Fax side which beat Rhinos 42-0 at The Shay 20 years ago next week.
“It’s a big occasion for the club, the players and the supporters and we want to enjoy it.
“We want to try and reward everyone for their backing this year and the best way to do that is by turning in a competitive performance on the field.”
Rhinos are on the back of successive wins and, despite their poor form in the regular season, Marshall is under no illusions about the size of the challenge facing his men.
“Leeds are a very, very, very good side,” he said.
“They’ve had some issues this year with consistency and they’re in the Qualifiers because of that, but they’re the reigning Super League champions.
“Richie Myler is playing very well for them, he takes the ball right to the line like a good half-back should and he’s got an electric running game.
“They’re just a quality side and they know a win this weekend will secure their Super League place for next season so they’ll come out all guns blazing.
“We’ll match them for enthusiasm and energy, but we need to try and match them for smartness as well.
“We didn’t manage that at Widnes last weekend so that’s our challenge on Sunday.”