North Wales Crusaders boss Anthony Murray, who was named League 1 Coach of the Year in 2021, has agreed a new deal with the club.
Murray’s involvement with Crusaders began in 2014, taking over from Clive Griffiths as head coach midway through the campaign.
With a change in the Championship’s structure meaning five teams were relegated that year, North Wales’ stay in the second tier was short lived, but Murray guided the club to the League 1 play-offs and iPro Sport Cup success in 2015.
Despite significant changes on the field with a number of senior players leaving the club in 2016, the Welsh side were competitive and made the League 1 Shield Final, losing out at Newcastle.
Murray opted for a new challenge at Gloucestershire All Golds at the end of that season, with Mike Grady taking over, but he returned to the Welsh side early in 2018 and has been with the club ever since.
In his first full season back in the charge, Crusaders narrowly missed out on the League 1 play-offs by just three points under Murray’s guidance, making the shortlist for Coach of the Year.
The 44-year-old built a new-look squad ahead of 2020 and North Wales started the campaign positively, only for it to be stopped early because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the long wait was worth it as Crusaders clinched third place in League 1 last term and made the play-offs for the first team since 2015, with Murray named Coach of the Year.
On his new deal, Murray said: “10 years for the club have absolutely flown by and I’m so proud to be associated with North Wales.
“We’re a club that are always striving to succeed and, no matter what obstacles are thrown in our way, we don’t let them hamper us.
“We set ourselves really high standards last year, but that’s what we’ve always done and what we achieved in 2021 has been years in the process.
“I’m delighted to announce my new contract as we celebrate 10 years for the club and I’m sure there’ll be plenty more to celebrate in the future.
“We finished third last season and our aim now has to be to cement a regular spot in those play-offs.
“That’s always been my aim since I returned as head coach and we just need to make sure we continue working hard together to achieve it.”
Crusaders chief executive Andy Moulsdale: “Muzza is an excellent coach and it’s fantastic that we’ve been able to keep both him and Rob Massam at the club as 2021 Coach and Player of the Year respectively.
“You only have to speak to the players and a lot of other people involved with rugby league to realise how well respected Muzza is.
“Everyone can be extremely proud of what we achieved last season and we want to try and build on that in 2022.
“We’re all very excited about the future for the club and we have plenty more news to announce in the coming weeks.”