HALIFAX captain Scott Murrell knows just what the pain of relegation felt like for Hull KR chairman Neil Hudgell – he was sat with him at that fateful Million Pound Game.
However, for all the former Robins favourite hopes his old club make a swift return to Super League, he will be keen to slow their progress tomorrow when he next returns to Craven Park.
Halifax are the latest Championship side charged with the invidious proposition of ending Hull KR’s 100 per cent winning start to life in the second tier.
Stand-off Murrell, who helped Rovers first win promotion to Super League in 2006, told The Yorkshire Post: “I was at that game against Salford when Hull KR lost out and got relegated.
“Neil had invited me over and I’d gone to have a few beers with him. It was devastating. It was a bit of a surprise they ended up in that position and got relegated.
“They’ve got a quality team and quality coaches, though, with Tim Sheens leading them so you do hope they’ll go straight back up.
“But we have our own quality and we’re confident going over there.
“We started off the year slowly but have put together a couple of good wins now and are looking forward to this.”
Having spent seven years at Rovers, he remains a legend in those parts, but Murrell has become just as iconic a player now for Halifax where he has amassed more than 100 games since joining from KR in 2012.
Richard Marshall’s side are in good nick, too, having won four of their last five games, the only setback in the middle of that sequence being a 12-10 defeat to Toulouse.
“As well as Toulouse being close, there wasn’t much in our first loss against Featherstone either,” continued Murrell.
“If we’d have won those two we’d have been in second place.
“We’ve got a decent squad together and the lads who have come in from Salford Red Devils on dual-reg are coming and wanting to play.
“They’ve fitted in really well.
“We’ve got the likes of Simon Grix going really well, too.
“He’s a quality player. He’d had a really bad injury when he first came to us from Warrington and didn’t play for half-a-season but every match he’s played in this time he’s been great.
“Bobby Fairbank’s going as well as ever he has since being here, too, so we have Super League experience in our ranks as well as Rovers.
“We know they pretty much have a Super League squad but we go into every game thinking we can win and it will be no different on Sunday.”
For tomorrow’s game, Marshall has brought in Salford trio Jake Bibby, Ryan Lannon and Josh Wood while Murrell is one of four players – Ryan Boyle, Jacob Fairbank and Simon Grix being the others – returning after being rested for last week’s Challenge Cup win over Hunslet.
Alex Mammone, Luke Nelmes, Luke Ambler and Rob Worrincy drop out while Rovers have lost in-form Australian full-back Adam Quinlan for up to six weeks meaning Murrell’s old team-mate Ben Cockayne will play at No 1.
“I might try winding him up and getting him sent-off,” joked Murrell, with Scotland utility Danny Addy also returning from injury in the 19-man squad as Rovers seek eight straight wins.
“Benny’s mellowed a bit in his old age, though, so I’m not sure that will work...”
Once Rovers were relegated last October after that inconceivable ‘Golden Point’ loss to Salford, there was speculation that they might turn to the talented 31-year-old to tap into all his obvious Championship knowledge and nous.
With his kicking game still excellent, too, Murrell is certainly one of the best organisers in the competition.
But the player, who started out at home-town Leeds Rhinos, insisted: “I think that was just all rumours.
“Obviously, I used to play for Hull KR and, at heart, I’m Rovers after what they did for me .
“But I’m a Halifax player now and they are all I’m concerned with. Hopefully, we can get that result on Sunday.”