Marshall: Numbers reflected players’ early pre-season form

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Halifax coach Richard Marshall has said the club’s newly-released squad numbers reflected his players’ form early in their pre-season training.

But the 2018 Championship Coach of the Year nominee admitted the pecking order had already changed and was likely to do so again before Fax’s new-look line up open their warm up programme against Bradford at Odsal on January 6.

“I put a list together quite early on and I asked the other coaches to do the same,” said Marshall, who has handed out 31 numbered shirts, reflecting the club’s increased strength in depth for next year.

“We looked at how people were training and how we saw the team fitting together at that stage.

“But things have probably changed over the last four weeks and if you asked us all again in another six weeks, we might have a different view again.

“There have been a few changes, but generally most of the lads who were here last year have kept the numbers they had.

“Harry Kidd didn’t play a game for us last year because of injury, but he’s kept 15; we’ve not just changed things for the sake of it.

“We all know that doesn’t guarantee anyone anything at this stage; the team will always be picked on form.

“But we needed to get the numbers out there, if only so people can take a look and think ‘That’s not a bad side, maybe I’ll buy a season ticket and go and watch this mob next season’.”

Of Marshall’s new recruits, only QLT - who takes the full back berth, punting Will Sharp out to the wing - and speedster Shaun Robinson find their way into the first 13, with forwards Kevin Larroyer and Ben Kavanagh at 16 and 17, Ben White at 19 and Reece Chapman-Smith at 27.

Robinson’s inclusion, ahead of James Saltonstall, may raise eyebrows, although it emphasises the competition for places on the flanks.

Rookie Chester Butler gets the nod at centre, with Ben Kaye keeping the number nine ahead of the outstanding Brandon Moore, he retains 14.

“Shaun Robinson’s come in, looked really good and he’s trained really well,” said Marshall.

“But I’m sure James is going to have a say in things too; he’s already told me the numbers are irrelevant and he wants to be on the wing for that first game at Widnes.

“There was some discussion about Chester because he can obviously play back row as well, but it probably reflects the fact we’d like to develop his skills and decision making at centre this year.

“With Brandon, he genuinely doesn’t care about numbers; nine, 14, 32, it just doesn’t register.

“We know what we’re getting with both him and Ben, but they both need to watch out for Curtis Davies as well.”

1. Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e

2. Shaun Robinson

3. Steve Tyrer

4. Chester Butler

5.Will Sharp

6. Scott Murrell (c)

7.Ben Johnston

8. Dan Fleming

9. Ben Kaye

10. Jacob Fairbank

11. Shane Grady

12. Ed Barber

13. Simon Grix

14. Brandon Moore

15. Harry Kid

16. Kevin Larroyer

17. Ben Kavanagh

18. Elliot Morris

19. Ben White

20. James Saltonstall

21. Conor McGrath

22. Connor Davies

23. James Woodburn-Hall

24. Curtis Davies

25. Liam Cooper

26. Sion Jones

27. Reece Chapman-Smith

28. Will Calcott

29. Frazer Morris

30. Adam Brook

31. Jordan Syme