Murray leaves Siddal, Phillips and English take temporary charge

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Siddal coach Anthony Murray has left the club to return to the professional game with League 1 North Wales Crusaders.

Murray, a much travelled player and coach in the lower leagues, only succeeded the hugely successful Gareth Greenwood, who is now coaching rugby union side Old Crossleyans, before Christmas.

But with the Crusaders coach-less after sacking Mike Grady last week, Murray got the call to return Wrexham, where his staff will include the former Halifax centre Alan Hadcroft.

In a statement, Siddal chairman Joe McCormack underlined Murray’s contribution to what is expected to be a season of transition after three straight Grand Final appearances and confirmed the club’s former full back Darren Phillips and veteran prop Gareth English had been placed in temporary charge.

Phillips had been working alongside Murray, while English, a former professional with Keighley and Halifax, has NCL coaching experience with Ovenden.

“Anthony took charge of a much changed Siddal side and has steadied the ship during pre-season, giving an opportunity to several young players while creating a great impression with the more experienced members of the team,” said McCormack.

“He has been a hard working and enthusiastic coach. We are sorry to see Muz go and he leaves with our best wishes.

“Daz Phillips, who has been assisting Muz, will take charge, along with Gareth English for the time being.

“They will be supported at midweek training by a number of senior players including Byron Smith, George Ambler and Gareth Blackburn.

“As a club, we are lucky to have a wealth of further support from former players, including a number who are currently playing at Super League level.

“We have had offers of help from Liam Finn, Luke Robinson, Scott Grix, Kruise Leeming, Oli Roberts and Lee Greenwood, all of whom have offered to help during midweek training.”

Phillips and English’s first game in temporary charge will be this Saturday, when Siddal host Thatto Heath at Chevinedge (2.30).