Halifax Panthers seek revenge in Challenge Cup clash with Featherstone Rovers

Almost five months on from last season’s play-off semi-final heartbreak against Featherstone, Halifax Panthers will be looking to avenge that defeat by knocking Rovers out of the Challenge Cup this Sunday, writes Seb Sternik.

By Mark Berry
Friday, 25th February 2022, 9:27 am
Updated Friday, 25th February 2022, 9:28 am
Halifax Panthers take on Featherstone Rovers in the Challenge Cup on Sunday. Picture: Simon Hall
Halifax Panthers take on Featherstone Rovers in the Challenge Cup on Sunday. Picture: Simon Hall

On that day, Featherstone showed their class in a comprehensive 42-10 victory at the Millennium stadium. Nevertheless, Halifax will be hoping to underline their progress when they host their Championship rivals in the fourth round of the Challenge Cup.

Panthers boss Simon Grix acknowledges the challenge posed by the opposition saying: “Featherstone have been the benchmark for a long time. As far as part-time teams go, they’ve got to the stage where they’ve got their own ground, they’re making money from their ground, they’ve got Mark Campbell who has invested in the club for a long time.

“[That] has put them in a good position; they’re a bit of a different beast.

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“They’re signing players that probably for most teams in the Championship, none of us can touch to be honest.

“We’ll see how we go but it is definitely a big challenge for us against a team that’s earmarked for promotion. We’ll see how we go.”

Halifax endured a short run in the cup last season after bowing out in the first round against Batley.

The club will instead hope to draw inspiration from their semi-final run of 2019 which saw Fax miss out on a trip to Wembley following a 26-2 defeat to St Helens.

“We’ve had a few good wins in the Challenge Cup,” admitted Grix.

“[We] went out early last year, but previous year we got to the semi against St Helens which was a great experience.”

“We’ve probably got the draw that everyone else didn’t want. We’ll just go and enjoy it really. I think it’s one of those games where there will be a lot of eyes on it. There will be a good crowd, but they’re a bit of a different beast so we’ll see how we go against them.”

This weekend’s clash with Featherstone will be the first of two games in as many weeks between the two clubs. A week on from their cup clash, both teams will meet in a league fixture away at the Millennium Stadium.

“It’s quite rare that it happens to be fair,” added Grix. “We’ll take it one game at a time. From game one we’ll learn a bit and we’ll probably have to adapt some things for game two. All we can do at the minute is focus on one [game] at hand.”

With a number of key players out on the sidelines, the Panthers boss also revealed he will be looking to rotate his squad saying: “Over the next few weeks we’re going to need to use our squad.

“A couple of the lads that were not going to play at Workington might need to play this week. Few challenges there, but whatever team we put out will be one that goes out to do a good job for Halifax.”