Halifax player-coach Simon Grix highlighted the value of Wednesday night’s second warm up fixture at Keighley, which saw the club’s rookies clinch a 26-24 success over the Cougars.
With a handful of senior players mixed with the bulk of this year’s newly-formed reserve line up - and a 10-man replacements bench - the visitors only really hit form in patches, although the former Castleford hooker Brandon Moore shone with another sharp performance around the ruck.
Grix, back at his hometown club after a decade at Super League side Warrington, performed the media duties after the game, underlining his status within head coach Richard Marshall’s backroom staff.
“In patches, we saw what we wanted,” said Grix, who will join his teammates for a week-long training camp in Portugal after Sunday’s Warrington-versus-Leigh testimonial fixture marking his career with the Wolves.
“We had a plan, but it was one that we probably only put into place for 20 per cent of the game.
“For that 20 per cent, we looked okay and picked some holes in them.
“But they’re a new bunch, they’re still getting to know each other and it gives them an idea of where they’re at.
“It allowed me, Rich, Steve Greenwood and Martin Gonzalez to take a look at them too.
“They’ve been training for a long time now and they needed a run.
“A few of them stood up and did okay; the guys who were promoted to first team last week - Brandon and Elliot Morris - did real well and young Hema did well in the back row.
“Brandon is quick out of dummy half and he’s a strong little thing; there’s definitely something there for us to work with.
“The senior players - Bracek, Robinson and Saxton - all got a game under their belts, so it’s been a worthwhile evening.”
Grix is currently working his way back to fitness after more than a year on the sidelines with a leg fracture that almost ended his career.
And the versatile star confirmed he is nearing a long-awaited return as the start of the Championship on February 7 draws nearer.
“I’m doing some stuff with the team now and it’s a case of maintaining that,” he said.
“I can’t just jump in and say ‘I’m right now’, it’s a matter of training the body to move again.
“Being part time has probably slowed it down a bit.
“If I still had full-time training and all the resources you get with that, I might have been ready by now, but we’re definitely in the home stretch.”
“I’ve enjoyed coaching the young players though, which is the first time I’ve really focused on that.
“You’re looking for that lightbulb moment; it can be a bit frustrating at times but then you see the light come on and it’s very satisfying.”