North Wales Crusaders coach Anthony Murray believes a victory against one of the league’s ‘big-hitters’ can be a catalyst for success this season.

The Cru ended a three-game losing streak last weekend, beating Hemel Stags convincingly 40-16 for only their second League One victory this term.

Tries from Tommy Johnson, Owen Buckley, Steven Roper, Aaron Moore, Simon Atherton, Jack Houghton and James Dandy did the damage in a largely one-sided contest.

It was a match Murray’s men were expected to win and they now face a tough trip to Cumbrian title-challengers Whitehaven on Sunday.

The Cru have already suffered narrow defeats to the likes of Doncaster and Workington, with fine margins deciding both fixtures.

Murray said: “We weren’t too far away in either of those games against sides who are going to be up there challenging at the top of the league this season.

“I think we’ve shown how capable we are of matching them for long spells in games, but a few errors or silly penalties have cost us.

“There are still a lot of elements to our game that can be improved, I think that showed against Hemel.

“There were times in that game where we’ve hurled a catch or gone straight for the space and made the wrong decisions at key times.

“We got the win, which was the most important thing, but now I’d like to see our completion rate improve against the bigger sides.

“If we can do that I’m sure we can come away from top teams with wins, which can give us a springboard for the rest of the season.”

Currently fourth and two points off the summit, Whitehaven have won five games from seven this term.

As well as a solid early league campaign, Carl Forster’s men advanced to the sixth round of the Challenge Cup with a comprehensive 38-0 success over Championship outfit Rochdale Hornets.

And Murray insists his side are braced for another massive test against ‘well-drilled and dangerous’ opposition.

He added: “Hemel was a massive opportunity to get some confidence into the players and hopefully they can kick on at Whitehaven which is a really tough place to go.

“It’s a huge test for us. Like most Cumbrian sides, Whitehaven are a big physical team and have picked up some big wins already this season and come into the game after a solid win at Keighley last week.

“There’s quality right through their squad but we’re going there looking for the win.We should go there with confidence and hopefully we’ll see some of that self-belief come into our play.”

West Wales Raiders, who sacked coach Jon Ellis on Wednesday, head to Bradford on the back of a 144-0 thrashing by York, who visit Hunslet on Sunday.

Hemel face Workington, Coventry visit Keighley and Oldham host Newcastle on Sunday, while tomorrow, Doncaster visit Skolars.