Fax squad numbers: Morris moves up, Murrell keeps six

Scott Murrell        Picture: SWpix.com
Scott Murrell Picture: SWpix.com

Halifax coach Simon Grix has revealed the club’s squad numbers for 2020 and the thinking behind them.

Grix has handed out a total of 27 shirts for the upcoming Championship season, starting with his older brother, Scott, at number one and ending with France back rower Kevin Larroyer at 31, with four shirts left vacant.

Of the new recruits, Jodie Broughton takes the number five vacated by Will Sharp, with Tom Gilmore grabbing the key number seven jersey.

Up front, Keegan hirst has been given 10 and Matt Garside 11, with Keal Carlile at 14 and Paul Brearley at 15.

From last season’s line up, the notable changes at James Woodburn-Hall at four, Elliot Morris displacing Dan Fleming at eight and young Welshman Connor Davies moving up to 16.

There is also a shirt for rookie half back talent Fraser Stroud, the only member of the 2018 reserve side to earn promotion to Grix’s top squad.

“In some cases the numbers mean something, in other cases they don’t,” said Grix.

“They are what they are; we need to allocate those shirts, but it’s not something we spent hours and hours deliberating and I think it’s unlikely we’ll line up with a one to 17 in round one.

“For some of the players it’s a reward for their efforts, both last season and in training.

“Elliot Morris falls into that category and so does Connor Davies and this should be a shot in the arm for both of them.

“For someone like James (Woodburn-Hall), it’s a recognition that we see him as someone who should be involved, as long as he’s playing well.

“At the same time, that’s not necessarily going to be as a centre.

“Some of others asked for specific numbers for personal reasons; Kevin Larroyer’s is the postal area code for Toulouse, for example.

“The players know they don’t mean anything is ruled in or ruled out, so no one else should read too much into them either.”

Player-coach Scott Murrell keeps the number six shirt ahead of what is expected to be his final season, despite some public criticism from Grix about his physical condition during 2019.

“Scott is the club captain, it’s probably his last year and I think he’s earned the right to have the number six as his final shirt,” said Grix.

“There were some truths that needed to be spoken last year, but I don’t think they hurt Scott, because he was well aware of where he was physically.

“He’s training well; he’s trimmed down a bit, he’s put on some muscle and he’s in the middle of the group in the fitness tests, which is where you’d expect him to be at his age.

“Look, he’s not going to be ripped like Cooper Cronk, but he’s definitely in a better place than he was.

“He’s got another six weeks work before we kick off, then we’ll see where he’s at.”

Halifax, 2020: 1. Scott Grix, 2. Shaun Robinson, 3. Steve Tyrer, 4. James Woodburn-Hall, 5. Jodie Broughton, 6. Scott Murrell, 7. Tom Gilmour, 8. Elliot Morris, 9. Brandon Moore, 10. Keegan Hirst, 11. Matt Garside, 12. Ed Barber, 13. Jacob Fairbank, 14. Keal Carlile, 15. Paul Brearley, 16. Connor Davies, 17. Ben Kavanagh, 18. James Saltonstall, 19. Conor McGrath, 20. Curtis Davies, 21. Reece Chapman-Smith, 22. Will Calcott, 24. Sion Jones, 25. Oliver Waite, 26. Fraser Stroud, 29. Daniel Fleming, 31. Kevin Larroyer