ANTHONY MURRAY saluted his North Wales Crusaders players after they recorded a hard-fought 25-22 success at Whitehaven.

Tries from Steven Roper, Gavin Conroy, Ryan Smith and Kenny Baker were the catalyst for Crusaders' League One win, which left head coach Murray delighted.

"We did some work in the week after looking at Whitehaven and we knew where we needed to go," he said.

"Once we stuck to our task we did really well, we fully deserved the win even though we were on the wrong end of a penalty count again, although we dealt with that this week.

"I'm really pleased with the players, they dug deep and to grind out a win at Whitehaven is something special."

Murray insists that a win over one of the league's big boys was coming as long as his squad of players believed in both themselves and what the coaching staff were trying to do.

"It was coming," continued Murray. "It was the same against Doncaster and the same against Workington, but I said to the players that the only thing lacking is self-belief.

"I said that once you believe in yourself and believe in the system things will come good and they deserve everything they got.

"There is a real buzz about the team. The players are buying into things, their attitudes are good, they are training hard and the dual-reg from Widnes is helping as well.

"We are getting there. There is a long way to go and there is a lot to fix up, but I will really enjoy the win and let the players enjoy it because they've really worked hard for it."

And it was not just Crusaders' attack that earned the plaudits, Murray adding: "As much as we work on our attack we've been working double time on our defence and our wrestle and working double time on some systems with our edge defence and it's paid off."

Murray is now focused on making sure that the win at Whitehaven is not a one-off.

Crusaders are without a game next weekend before they entertain Keighley Cougars at the Queensway Stadium on Sunday, May 20.

"That's the challenge for us as a group," said Murray. "We were good against Doncaster, then we were totally way off it against Newcastle and then we were back on it against Workington before we got a decent win against Hemel.

"The challenge is for us to back this up. We've got a week off and then we've got Keighley, so as much as we will enjoy this win, the focus for me is on how we back that up. We've proved what we can do and the challenge is backing that up."