‘Can’t dine off a good performance’ - Fax’s heroics against St Helens erased as Simon Grix prepares for Batley Bulldogs serving up a ‘tough encounter’ in Summer Bash

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Halifax Panthers’ head coach Simon Grix has insisted last Friday’s heroic performance against St Helens in the Challenge Cup should be ‘out of our minds’ as he prepares his side for a ‘tough’ Summer Bash clash with Batley Bulldogs on Sunday, kick off 4pm.

This season’s special round of fixtures take place at the LNER Community Stadium in York for the first time, and Fax’s encounter with Batley could be the second of four games between the sides in 2023 if they meet in the 1895 Cup semi’s or final, following their exceptional Challenge Cup runs.

“We just treat it as a normal game,” said Grix ahead of the contest. “It’s not at Halifax, it’s not at Batley, it’s just a different spot for us. For the fans it is more of an occasion and an opportunity to all lump together and go and visit somewhere a bit different.

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“It’s a new experience having been at Blackpool and then Headingley last year. But it is just another game to be quite honest.”

Halifax Panthers’ head coach Simon Grix has insisted last Friday’s heroic performance against St Helens in the Challenge Cup should be ‘out of our minds’ as he prepares his side for a ‘tough’ Summer Bash clash with Batley Bulldogs. (Photo credit: Simon Hall)Halifax Panthers’ head coach Simon Grix has insisted last Friday’s heroic performance against St Helens in the Challenge Cup should be ‘out of our minds’ as he prepares his side for a ‘tough’ Summer Bash clash with Batley Bulldogs. (Photo credit: Simon Hall)
Halifax Panthers’ head coach Simon Grix has insisted last Friday’s heroic performance against St Helens in the Challenge Cup should be ‘out of our minds’ as he prepares his side for a ‘tough’ Summer Bash clash with Batley Bulldogs. (Photo credit: Simon Hall)

“Batley are a good team and they have found some form. They were a bit like us in the early season, up and down, but they have got themselves back in the groove of it and seem to be doing pretty well.

“We weren’t particularly great when we last played them (Fax won 20-16). I don’t think they were either. But I think both teams have definitely improved since that fixture. It is never an easy game against Batley, ever. It is normally a physical one which takes its toll a bit.

“We will be preparing the best we can and taking last week’s game out of our minds because you can’t dine off a good performance. You have to be good in the next one. We are preparing for a tough encounter.”

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While the Panthers’ Challenge Cup journey came to a spirited conclusion against the Saints, Batley were beaten 50-0 by Hull KR.

“I am not going to read too much into that,” admitted Grix. “It’s hard because if you are doing a review or a preview of a team based on them playing Super League opposition you are looking at something that’s quite a bit different to what the fixture will probably be like.

“We’ll reflect on our last game against them, what we did good, what we weren’t so good at and what areas we feel they’ll try and go at and look at their past couple of Championship games which are more relevant and closer to a level playing field.

“We will just take them for Batley who are a good Championship team.”

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On his opposite number’s new role as assistant head coach at Castleford Tigers, Grix said:

“I am really happy for Craig, he feels that the timing is right to take a step which is great. I think it is good news for Craig and good news for Batley in the short term where he is going to mix both jobs and will be picking bits up from Lasty (Andy Last) at Cas.

“It is good news on the whole. The idea of progression and a pathway is good for young, British coaches.”