Style challenge for new Halifax coach

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Halifax director Ian Croad says new head coach Richard Marshall has been tasked with not only delivering success but doing so in style.

Marshall, the current Warrington Wolves and England Knights assistant, will return to the club where he played from 1994-99 when the current season ends.

He succeeds Karl Harrison, who was let go recently having narrowly failed to secure a lucrative top-two finish in the Championship, and has signed a three-year deal.

“Richard was very impressive at interview and he’s got a fantastic background,” said Croad, about the 38-year-old, who joined Warrington in 2008 having previously played for London Broncos and Huddersfield Giants.

“As a club, we needed to raise the bar in all areas before next year’s league restructure and Richard will help us do that on the football side of the business.

“He is very, very professional in everything he does; he’s done six years at one of the biggest clubs in the game under Tony Smith and he’s coached some of the best players in the world.

“For us, I have absolutely no doubt he is the right appointment.”

Marshall is expected to appoint his own assistant coach and conditioner - Fax’s current trainer Nigel Halmshaw is emigrating to Australia - but Croad said there would also be roles in the new set up for captain Scott Murrell, who took charge after Harrison’s exit, and and other members of the current coaching staff.

And Croad - who says there is still room on the budget for the new coach to make his own signings - made it clear that Marshall’s brief was not just to succeed, but to succeed with the kind of free-flowing style the Wolves have become known for.

“Richard wants us to be more open and fluent in the way we attack and that’s what we want and that’s what our fans want,” he said.

“He’s not been tasked with taking us to Super League, he’s been tasked with improving our style of play and improving our players as individuals.

“Beyond that, the goal is to get into that ‘middle eight’ when the Championship and Super League merge mid-season.

“It’s going to be difficult, against at least three full time teams, but it’s not unrealistic.”