CRUSADERS head coach Anthony Murray paid tribute to winger Rob Massam after his hat-trick helped North Wales Crusaders to a convincing 30-16 victory at South Wales Scorpions.
Massam, 28, stole the show in the Welsh capital with a treble on his 100th appearance for the club, a milestone Murray was quick to highlight as he paid tribute to the club’s all-time top try scorer.
“It’s fantastic for Rob to reach 100 appearances for North Wales Crusaders and to cap it off with a hat-trick in the Welsh derby, it’s brilliant really,” Murray said.
“Having two men like Rob and Tommy Johnson playing their rugby here is brilliant and it’s been great for them to both stay at Crusaders, sticking with us through the tough times as well as the good.
“I’m very fortunate as a coach to be able to call on both Rob and Tommy with all their experience and for them both to reach such an important milestone in recent weeks is testament to their careers here at Crusaders.”
Crusaders narrowly led 16-12 at the break in Cardiff but ran away with the game in the second period as Massam added two more tries and Simon Atherton crossed the whitewash.
Without Stephen Wild, Andy Moulsdale, Alex Thompson, Stuart Reardon and Earl Hurst, Murray was delighted to come away with the two points, which moves Crusaders into ninth spot in League One, just one point away from the top eight ahead of the league split in mid-July.
“We were missing five key players and we struggled with our structures a bit in the first-half, there were plenty of new faces and it does take some adjusting to,” he added.
“Some of the forward play in the second-half was excellent and we played with more freedom and produced a very good performance.
“There was a healthy crowd over 1,000 and the other games made for an enjoyable day.”
Crusaders called on three on-loan Salford Red Devils’ in the derby clash, Matthew Haggarty once again impressing while Olli Krasniqi and Jordan Walne came on off the replacement bench. Adam Saunders and Matt Davies made their first starts of the campaign at centre, while Billy Brickhill came on for his debut.
“It’s all about timing with the dual-reg and the lads who came in from Salford once again did a terrific job,” Murray continued.
“Some weekends it’s difficult to accommodate the dual-reg players but this week we needed a few extra bodies in there and it has paid off. The lads on debut all did well and Adam and Matt in centre didn’t really put a foot wrong all game.”