Murrell praises Cullimore after young hooker makes debut in Cup win

Shane Grady was in fine form
Shane Grady was in fine form
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Halifax player-coach Scott Murrell praised an encouraging debut from rookie hooker Chris Cullimore after the club booked their place in the fifth round of the Challenge Cup with a 20-6 home win over Hunslet.

In a game that played in constant rain and littered with errors from both sides, Richard Marshall’s Fax never looked in danger of defeat, despite resting five key players - including Murrell - ahead of next weekend’s Championship game at Hull KR.

As well as the skipper, in-form trio James Saltonstall, Simon Grix and Jacob Fairbank and prop Ryan Boyle all watched from the stands.

Cullimore, a former Elland junior who played for Keighley’s reserves in 2016 before moving to the Shay this year, was a surprise inclusion for Fax and produced a solid 30-minute effort on his senior debut, plugging the gap left by the absence of Salford’s Josh Wood and Matthew Wilkinson, who were unavailable.

“I thought young Cully on debut was pretty good,” said Murrell, who had his own thoughts on what he wanted from Tuesday morning’s fifth round draw.

“He showed some nice touches and came up with a try saving tackle when we needed it at 12-0.

“He was with Keighley reserves last year, came here this year and he’s really stood out.

“Rich has had him training with the first team for a couple of weeks now and he’s earned his debut.

“He’s a local lad from Elland and it’s always good to get players like that through and into the team.

“He’s not looked out of place in training and he’s a tough player.

“The players who came in did a job for us.

“We’re not just about the 1 to 17, we’re about the 1 to 26; at the end of the day it’s about the whole squad and we have some quality players in there.

“We said before the game that it was about getting the win, and we did that.

“Shane Grady really put his hand up and had a really good game and he was a standout performer for me.

“It would be nice to get one of the big teams down now, get a big crowd in and get some money into the club.

“Leeds would be great; it’s my hometown club, it’s the team I supported and it’s the team I played for.

“We’ll see what the draw brings.”

Next week will also be a big day for Murrell, when he makes his second return to Craven Park to face the club where he spent seven seasons.

“It will be good, a special day,” he said.

“I was there for a long time and it’s going to be a good challenge for us going there.

“They’re top of the league and they’ve got some good players.

“Jamie Ellis is controlling them at half back and they’ve got a quality hooker in Shaun Lunt.

“But we’re going to win; we’re underdogs and we can thrive on that.”