HALIFAX coach Richard Marshall believes Widnes Vikings could actually be more dangerous without Rangi Chase following the former England star’s drugs ban.
The Championship part-timers host the Super League side tomorrow looking to inflict a shock in the Qualifiers.
Widnes finished bottom in the regular season and are seen as arguably the most prone elite side, especially after stand-off Chase was suspended for testing positive for cocaine.
They had brought the 2011 Man of Steel in from Castleford Tigers on loan earlier this season and planned to build their side around him after he signed a two-year deal last month.
However, Chase tested positive following the defeat against Wakefield just a week later, a development that was made public before their Qualifiers opener, a 28-14 defeat against Warrington.
Many feel Widnes are now more likely to be embroiled in a real relegation scrap and Marshall admitted: “He is a loss.
“They wouldn’t have brought him in if they didn’t think he could improve them.
“That said, Joe Mellor is playing very well and Rhys Hanbury is a fantastic player.
“Danny Craven, too, who we know a little bit about (he was on loan at Halifax in 2015), has gone under the radar but he’s a wonderful half-back.
“He’ll probably blossom now and fill the void that Rangi has left.
“It could galvanise them. It would certainly galvanise us.
“We’d be saying everything is against us and it could pull Widnes together.
“Obviously, man for man they are far more expensive and stronger than us but anything can happen over 80 minutes.”
Halifax showed that on Sunday when they led at Championship leaders Hull KR in their Qualifiers opener before losing out late on 26-22.
“We felt we were the better side,” said Marshall.
“We go in confident against Widnes.
“We intend to make it really hard for them to break us down and win the game.”
“I just hope we have enough fitness to do that.”