"We need to play together" says Grix ahead of Panthers' first pre-season game against Bradford Bulls on Boxing Day
Halifax Panthers' first pre-season friendly will take place on Boxing Day as they face local rivals Bradford Bulls at Odsal Stadium (12.30).
The Panthers have had a busy off season with a number of new faces arriving at The Shay ahead of the 2022 season, and coach Simon Grix is keen to see what his new look Halifax team has to offer.
‘’I think sometimes particularly with so many new faces, we need to play together, we need to play a game which will highlight some areas we need to work on, some areas that are good but individually it will show us some stuff about the blokes that we’ve got playing this year.’’
Halifax have signed 11 new players in total in the off season as Matty Gee, Titus Gwaze, Joe Arundel, Liam Whitton, Joe Keyes, Kyle Wood, Lachlan Walmsley, Cory Aston, Brad Knowles, Cole Oakley, and Louis Jouffret will all be in line to make their debuts in the match.
Despite the large overhaul to the playing squad over the summer and only a short preseason this time around, Grix believes the preparations for the season so far have been going well.
‘’This one (pre-season) has been really short, having new faces freshens things up, it also brings its challenges as well, not having as much time as you would like but we can’t complain.
"Everyone’s enjoying it, the efforts been really good, they have all worked really hard and bought into what we are about as a team and a club, really happy on the whole.’’
The Panthers will be hoping that their short and intensive preseason will stand them in good stead this year to mount a push towards the play offs. However, Grix believes the Championship will be more competitive than ever this year.
"We’ve got some decent signings in to compliment the lads that where retained, although you don’t want to dampen enthusiasm from our fans and rugby league people in general it’s the Championship, it’s a tough league, it’s tough every year and it only gets harder.’’
Halifax finished third in the Championship last year, reaching the play offs and narrowly missing out on the Million-Pound Game, after losing 42-10 to Featherstone.
Fans will be cautiously optimistic for the season ahead, hoping to go one step further next year, and the game against Bradford should give some insight into the new look Halifax Panthers side.
Entry is £15 for season ticket holders and concessions if tickets are booked in advance, rising to £20 on matchday. Juniors go free if tickets are booked in advance.