Incoming Halifax coach Richard Marshall has confirmed his plans for the club’s backroom staff will include roles for both captain Scott Murrell and current assistant coach Rikki Sheriffe.
The 38 year old former Fax front rower, who is currently right hand man to Warrington Wolves’ super-coach Tony Smith and will not formally take over at the Shay until November, was named as successor to his former teammate Karl Harrison late last week.
Marshall said he is close to appointing a new conditioner to replace the outgoing Nigel Halmshaw and will also bring in another assistant coach.
But he will also keep faith with both Murrell - who took temporary charge when Harrison left - and Sheriffe, who he revealed recently visited the Wolves on a fact finding mission of his own.
“I am not far off with the conditioner and hopefully there will be some news on that soon,” said Marshall, who said he was “excited” by the prospect of his first head coach’s job at the club where he also began his playing career as a 17 year old in the early 1990s.
“In terms of the assistant coach, there will be someone coming in but that might take a little longer because it needs to be the right appointment; it needs to be someone I can trust and someone who can also freshen my thinking up when I need it.
“I know Scott and Rikki are both keen to learn and if I can help them do that I’m more than happy, so there will be some involvement for them as well.
“Rikki actually arranged to come to Warrington before the play offs, just to see how a successful club prepares for the big games at the end of the year.
“I only had a brief conversation with him, but he asked the right questions, the smart questions and that certainly didn’t do him any harm in terms of his involvement with Halifax.”
Marshall, who has served a lengthy apprenticeship that began with two seasons as a player-coach at Swinton before his six year stint at Warrington, said the initial months of his reign would be inevitably “fragmented” because of his commitments to the Wolves, but that he had already started to draw up plans for pre-season training and player assessments.
“It’s difficult because my focus is Warrington for the moment; we have a Grand Final to try and win,” said Marshall, who will also take charge of England’s Academy side for two tests against the touring Australian Schoolboys in December.
“But I’ve already spoken to a few of the Halifax players and that process, as well as planning for pre season, will continue over the next few weeks.
“I’m excited by challenge and the opportunity we have here.”
Fax announced on Monday they had signed the Australian half back Matt Place, who joins Adam Tangata and Chris Taylor on the list of new recruits.
The rumour mill continues to link them to a clutch of other players, including Place and Tangata’s Sydney teammate, the forward Mitch Cahalane, Batley full back Miles Greenwood, Leigh winger Alex Brown and Wakefield forward Richard Moore, although as yet none of those deals have been confirmed by Fax officials.