Wakefield v Halifax: Murrell puts friendship to one side as Halifax plan shock

Scott Murrell: Played at Hull KR with Wakefield coach James Webster.
Scott Murrell: Played at Hull KR with Wakefield coach James Webster.
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HALIFAX captain Scott Murrell is intent on making life even more miserable for the man he says has been one of the biggest influences in his career.

The Championship part-timers head to Wakefield Trinity tonight for a Challenge Cup fifth-round tie against struggling opponents who are holding up the rest of Super League, having lost eight successive games.

Wakefield are coached by Australian James Webster, who was Murrell’s half-back partner during two memorable years together at Hull KR.

Talking to The Yorkshire Post, Murrell recalled: “James was the captain at Rovers when I first joined there and he did have a massive impact on my career.

“He was at seven and I was six so it was great to have him next to me to help me with my game.

“I was only 20 so really looked up to the little ginger. I’d come through the juniors at Leeds but only played 20 minutes first-team there so that move was a chance to get my career going.

“It meant dropping down a division but we got promoted in that first season (2006) and KR have been there ever since.

“Webbo was a quality player and he’s a quality coach now.”

Webster’s coaching credentials, however, have been tested to the limit in his first full season as chief.

A raft of injuries left the 35-year-old down to the bare bones as they suffered a humiliating 80-0 loss at Warrington on Sunday, equalling Super League’s record margin of defeat and leaving Halifax fans all the more confident of potentially causing a shock.

That would increase the pressure on Murrell’s old friend immensely given he has stated how this Challenge Cup game is now of such importance.

But the Halifax stand-off cannot let himself be concerned with that and said: “We’re not too worried about them. We’re just going about our business and making sure we put in a decent display against a Super League side. Everyone knows that’s where we want to be. This is a chance to show what we can do.

“We’re still a part-time team at the moment but there are ambitions for the club to be back up there and this will be a good tester of where we are at.

“You go into every game thinking you can win. It’s no secret Wakey have had injuries, aren’t playing too well, but I’m sure James and his players will do their utmost to beat us.”

Super League teams finishing in the bottom four after 23 rounds will compete with the Championship’s top four to decide who plays in the elite in 2016. Murrell, meanwhile, is looking forward to reacquainting himself with a few other people.

“I played with Nick Scruton in the Leeds academy,” he said, about the prop who returns from suspension for Trinity.

“I played against Danny Kirmond and Danny Washbrook throughout my junior rugby so there’s some familiar faces in that side with Craig Hall, too.”

Halifax, who have signed Widnes stand-off Danny Craven on a season-long loan, are up to fourth after a 38-6 rout of Workington Town.