Super 8s Qualifiers: Fax to give debut to Calcott against Leigh

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Halifax will give a debut to young forward Will Calcott in Friday night’s Super 8s Qualifiers date at Leigh (8.0).

And Calcott’s reserve grade teammate Jordan Syme could also make the cut at half back after coach Richard Marshall confirmed that skipper Scott Murrell will definitely not feature against the Centurions.

Murrell, who injured his hand in the loss to Catalans Dragons a fortnight ago, will be one of several notable omissions; loose forward Simon Grix, full back Will Sharp and young prop Elliot Morris will all sit the game out.

“We’re going to have to make some changes this week,” said Marshall, whose side look likely to face a £100,000 game against Featherstone next weekend to decide who finishes seventh and eighth in the Qualifiers.

“Scott and Will are not fit, Simon pulled up really sore after playing on the artificial pitch in London and young Elliot, who’s been outstanding for us this year, needs a rest.

“Will Calcott will play and I’m excited about that one, because he’s going to be a good player in the future.

“He’s significant because he’ll be the first player to come all the way through the pathway we set up; he went to Calderdale College to play for Scott’s team, went into the reserves and now into the first team.

“Athletically he’s really developed this year and this is the next step for him.

“Alex Mammone will come back in, Ben Heaton will be back and there’s a chance young Jordan Syme will be involved too.

“James Woodburn-Hall and young Morgan Punchard aren’t fit, so we’ll look at Jordan and Michael Sio at half back, but Jordan’s got more of a kicking game.

“It will be a team with a few changes though.

“I think in hindsight the last few weeks, playing against full time teams, caught up with us in London last Sunday; we need to freshen things up a bit this week.”

Marshall, who predicted Fax will face a “desperate” Leigh side as the Lancastrians battle to preserve their top flight status, was also calm on the appointment of referee Chris Kendall for the game.

Kendall officiated Fax’s clash with Catalans a fortnight ago, failing to send off Dragons star Greg Bird for a spear tackle on Heaton and prompting Marshall to send a series of video clips to the RFL.

Bird was subsequently banned for four matches, with Kendall spending last weekend at the Championship Shield clash between Swinton and Oldham.

“I’m alright with Chris, I’m happy with it; we don’t appoint the referees, so what can we do?,” said Marshall.

“He’s a young referee and everyone makes mistakes, that’s how we all develop and improve.

“He does need to be strong this week though, because it’s going to be an intense game; these Fax versus Leigh games are always a bit fiery.

“There’s a lot at stake.”