Murrell: Loss of duo was no excuse

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Halifax player coach Scott Murrell refused to use the loss of injured outside backs Tommy Saxton and Ryan Fieldhouse as an excuse for yesterday’s play off loss at Featherstone.

Fax went down 34-16 at Post Office Road, despite leading 16-12 until Gareth Moore’s 55th-minute try, and must now beat Dewsbury at the Shay next Sunday (3.0) to keep their Championship season alive.

The visitors lost Saxton during the warm up and Fieldhouse inside two minutes, leaving forwards Adam Robinson and Dane Manning as makeshift centres and another back rower, Callum Casey, on the wing.

But Murrell, who was again without regular half back partner Ben Johnston through injury, identified more fundamental failings.

“It’s not an excuse; it’s why you pick a team and why you have a squad of players,” said the former Hull KR playmaker.

“Tommy’s back seized up in the warm up, so Robinson had to step into the centre.

“Then we lost Fieldhouse with a knee injury and had to change things again.

“Credit to Callum, he’s a back rower playing on the wing and he did a great job for us.

“But you can’t turn the ball over like we did; we didn’t complete a set in the first six sets of the second half.

“In the end, you’re going to pay for that against a side like Featherstone.

“We believe in the systems and the plan we had, but when you don’t get to the end of the sets it’s not going to work for you.

“But we need to be better than that at understanding the game and knowing what’s required.

“We had them at 16-12 with 50 minutes gone, but you can’t let teams off the hook like that.

“We’ve a gutted bunch in that dressing room, but the good thing is we have next week to put it right.”