Halifax have named Warrington Wolves’ assistant and England Academy boss Richard Marshall as their new coach for 2015.
Thirty-eight-year-old Marshall, a former front rower who began his Super League career as a player at the Shay in the mid-1990s, succeeds his former captain Karl Harrison, who left the club last month after three years in charge.
Marshall, who has spent six years at the Wolves as under 20s and first team coach, sealed a three year deal late on Thursday after emerging from a high quality field that is rumoured to have included the former England coaches Brian Noble and John Kear as well as ex-Bradford chief Francis Cummins.
“Richard was very impressive at interview and he’s got a fantastic background,” said Fax director Ian Croad.
“As a club, we needed to raise the bar in all areas before next year’s league restructure and Richard will help us do that on the football side of the business.
“He is very, very professional in everything he does; he’s done six years at one of the biggest clubs in the game under Tony Smith and he’s coached some of the best players in the world.
“For us, I have absolutely no doubt he is the right appointment.”
Marshall is expected to appoint his own assistant coach and conditioner - Fax’s current trainer Nigel Halmshaw is emigrating to Australia - but Croad said there would also be roles in the new set up for both captain Scott Murrell, who took charge after Harrison’s exit, and current Academy coach Rikki Sheriffe.
And Croad made it clear that Marshall’s brief was not just to succeed, but to succeed with the kind of free-flowing style the Wolves have become known for.
“Richard wants us to be more open and fluent in the way we attack and that’s what we want and that’s what our fans want,” said Croad.
“He’s not been tasked with taking us to Super League, he’s been tasked with improving our style of play and improving our players as individuals.
“Beyond that, the goal is to get into that ‘middle eight’ when the Championship and Super League merge mid-season.
“It’s going to be difficult, against at least three full time teams, but it’s not unrealistic.”
Marshall, who was in camp with the Wolves yesterday ahead of Thursday’s play off clash with Castleford at The Jungle, also played for Huddersfield, London, Leigh and Swinton after leaving Fax.
He was player-coach for the Lions when they made the 2006 Championship One Grand Final and moved to Warrington in 2008, initially as under 20s coach.
Head coach Tony Smith elevated him to first team coach in 2010, a job he held down as the Wolves contested two Grand Finals, won two Challenge Cups and a League Leaders’ shield.
Marshall, who has been assistant coach to the England Knights since 2011 and is now the head coach for the England Academy side as well, inherits a side that finished the season with form and confidence at a new low.
The bulk of the squad that Harrison steered to a third-placed finish are already contracted for next year, with a succession of recruitment announcements expected to follow those of former Wigan centre Chris Taylor and Cook Islands prop Adam Tangata.
But Croad insisted that Marshall would have scope to make changes if he wanted to.
“There is some playing budget remaining and we’ll do everything we can to help Richard,” he said.