Murrell: Competition for places bringing Fax into form

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Halifax player-coach Scott Murrell highlighted the increasingly intense competition for places in Richard Marshall’s side in the wake of the 50-12 Championship hammering of Batley on Sunday.

Fax, who led 20-6 at the break before piling on the agony for Matt Diskin’s side in the second half, left out Australian full back Kieren Moss, who had been away from the club in the build up to the game.

But with Moss’s replacement, Londoner James Woodburn-Hall, turning in a classy performance that included a try and two assists, Murrell believes Fax, who stayed fourth with all the teams around them winning, are on course to hit their best form.

“James is quality; he’s got all the skills, hasn’t he?,” said Murrell.

“He’s been a bit unlucky with injuries, picking up a few little knocks this season, but if he can shake them off and get a good run in the team then he can go far.

“It’s competition for us, that’s what it’s about.

“You can see Richard scratching his head, wondering who to pick, but he’d rather have that than be scratching around looking for players.

“Mossy had been away on a bit of a break, which was something he’d booked when he was with Hull KR, and James got the nod.

“We’ve got 23 or 24 players all pushing for selection next week at Barrow.

“I think overall, we are happy with the win, but the performance can be better.

“We were a bit scratchy at times, especially in the first half, with errors and penalties and they got a couple of dive-over tries we need to sort out.

“The points are good, it’s always nice to score some tries and I thought the tries we scored today were real team tries, they weren’t just one person’s effort.

“I thought 1-17 were great today.

“We just need to tidy up a bit and concentrate on playing our football in the opposition half a bit more.”

Murrell bagged a fifth try in five games after the break, swapping passes with in-form young back rower Chester Butler, a pairing that is rapidly becoming one of Fax’s go-to attacking combinations.

“Chester came back from the World Cup with Wales last year a totally different player,” said Murrell.

“He probably works harder than anyone; he is there doing his extras in the gym and he’s there on the field after training, doing extras.

“He’s reaping the rewards for all that hard work now.

“There’s a few of them now; Woody, Chester, Sion Jones, the Welsh twins Connor and Curtis, they’re all pushing us so-called older players to be better, they’re at our heels after our spots.

“I’m on a decent scoring run, but it’s down to the team, I think the furthest I’ve run for any of them was five metres today, all the others have been from a metre out.

“I’m just enjoying playing; I’m obviously getting older now but I’m enjoying being out there with the boys each week.”