Sheffield Eagles’ faint top four hopes were severely dented by a heavy 0-54 defeat to Halifax at Belle Vue.
Mark Aston’s side were left to rue a disastrous first-half showing which saw the visitors run in six tries, as the Eagles failed to maintain their recent run of victories.
The Eagles, ‘nilled’ for the first time this season, were never in the game as Halifax completed the league double following a comprehensive victory at The Shay earlier in the campaign.
The Eagles were seven points off fourth place, and four points behind Fax at the start of play, and following this setback a late run at the elite places now looks almost impossible.
The form book went firmly out of the window as Fax set the tone early on when good work from Simon Grix resulted in a try for the impressive James Woodburn-Hall.
Grix was involved again soon after when his sublime grubber was grounded by Steve Tyrer who then converted his own score.
Scott Murrell’s long pass resulted in another try for Woodburn-Hall, who squirmed through three tackles.
A Garry Lo error resulted in try No 4 as Woodburn-Hall stripped the ball off the PNG winger, before Conor McGrath crossed on the next play. Tyrer converted.
Ben Johnston ran in the fifth try, converted by Tyrer before McGrath bagged his second converted score before the break.
There was no let up after the interval as Matthew Wilkinson charged over after several near misses, and Tyrer converted.
Eagles couldn’t break down a resolute Fax defence. Top try-scorer Lo was held up once, before knocking on as he tried to cross a second time as frustration grew.
The visitors passed 40 points when Elliot Morris powered over, and Tyrer converted.
There was more pain for the Eagles who were guilty of a host of errors in possession. With six minutes remaining there was time for McGrath to complete his hat-trick but Tyrer missed a difficult conversion.
To make matters worse Simon Brown was sent to the sin bin for dissent, and Fax took advantage of the extra man with a converted try from Brandon Douglas as the visitors passed 50 points.
Eagles: Owens; Lo, Yere, Flynn, Millar; Brown, Minchella; Wheeldon, Fozard, Mexico; James, Scott; Hope. Interchange: Green, Cox, Burns, Johnson.
Halifax: Sharp; McGrath, Tyrer, Woodburn-Hall, Worrincy; Murrell, Johnston; Cahalane, Moore, Murray; Grady, Barber; Grix. Interchange: Morris, Fairbank, Douglas, Wilkinson.
Halifax tries: Woodburn-Hall (6, 16), Tyrer (13), McGrath (26, 34, 74), Johnston (30), Wilkinson (50), Morris (66), Douglas (76) Goals: Tyrer 7/10