Halifax coach Richard Marshall has admitted there are “positives and negatives” to inheriting a near-complete playing squad for 2015.
The 38 year old, Warrington’s first team coach and the England Academy boss, was appointed last week to succeed his former Fax teammate Karl Harrison, who left the club in August after three seasons in charge.
Harrison’s exit so late in the season inevitably meant that the bulk of the club’s recruitment was complete or almost complete.
The signings of Cook Islands prop Adam Tangata and Australian half back Matt Place, both from NSW Cup outfit Mounties, had already been confirmed, along with Whitehaven’s former Wigan centre Chris Taylor.
Two more arrivals have been unveiled today; a third Mounties player, the prop Mitch Cahalane, and the Halaifax-based Warrington and England Academy back James Saltonstall, who worked with Marshall at the Cheshre club.
And the rumour mill continues to churn out the names of further likely recruits, with Wakefield forward Richard Moore, Fax old boy Miles Greenwood and Leigh winger Alex Brown touted as likely suspects.
“We have the bulk of the squad in place already, which, as an incoming coach, has its positives and negatives,” said Marshall.
“The plus is that it’s a relatively stable group of players, most of whom played in the side that finished third in the league this year.
“I suppose the negative is that coaches want their own players and that I can’t come in and make big changes in personnel, although in fairness to the guys that are here already I probably wouldn’t have wanted to do that anyway.
“I certainly don’t look at the players we have - both from this year and the ones that are coming in - and feel daunted by it, quite the opposite.
“We’ll work with them, individually and as a group, try to develop some direction and confidence and see where we go from there.
“At the same time, having talked to the board there are some funds still available if there are areas we want to try and strengthen.”
Whatever the players at his disposal, Marshall confirmed his commitment, in principle at least, to trying to play the same brand of attacking game that has made the Wolves such an attractive proposition in Super League in recent seasons.
“Halifax aren’t Warrington and Warrington aren’t Halifax, so we will see what we have got to work with and take stock,” said Marshall.
“I am confident we can improve in terms of skill and decision making and hopefully the by-product of that will be some free-flowing rugby league, which is my philosophy.
“As a club, we need to try and entertain, because that’s part of the industry we’re in, and from the coaching and playing point of view we need to enjoy it because that’s why we all started playing the game in the first place.
“At the same time, we need to make sure we’re tough and resolute in defence because, as we know from Warrington, if you are going to play with your heads up and take some risks, you will make mistakes and you need to be able to defend them.”