Halifax Panthers ‘working hard’ on and off the training pitch as defence of 1895 Cup looms ever closer

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Halifax Panthers’ head coach Liam Finn has revealed his players are ‘working hard’ in pre-season as they prepare to start their defence of the 1895 Cup at the end of the month.

Ahead of Fax’s first group game at Oldham on Sunday, January 28, Finn took his players to former side Dewsbury Rams, who they face in the opening league fixture in March, for a special training session, while, off the pitch, they have had Mind Gym sessions, led by former Panthers start Johnny Lawless, to help with mental well being.

On their recent training exploits, Finn said: “It was a decent session at Dewsbury. A lot of Championship teams don’t have enough to do 13 vs 13 at training all the time so it was invaluable for that.

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“I don’t think it will have any bearing on the league game. It is the first league game but there could be six or seven games each before that. Both clubs will have developed a lot and improved a lot since then.

Halifax Panthers have been working hard on and off the training pitch this pre-season. (Photo credit: Simon Hall/Huw Evans Agency).Halifax Panthers have been working hard on and off the training pitch this pre-season. (Photo credit: Simon Hall/Huw Evans Agency).
Halifax Panthers have been working hard on and off the training pitch this pre-season. (Photo credit: Simon Hall/Huw Evans Agency).

“That is one of the reasons I felt we could do it. Obviously if we were starting on January 28 in the league and playing them we wouldn’t have done it.

“The Mind Gym sessions were really good. They were invaluable for us, but they are invaluable for anyone really, not just for a sports team but for any business or group of people just wanting to be aware of how you can build some tools around yourself for mental resilience, coping strategies and all that sort of stuff.

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“The top two inches are far more important than anything else. There’s a lot of people who have had really good careers because they were mentally better than everyone else. But there are a lot of people who haven’t had careers who physically should have been Super League or NRL players but didn’t have it in the top two inches.

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“For me, clearly, it is one of the most important things that anybody needs.”

He added: “It was a really insightful thing for us to do for six weeks. I am grateful for Johnny for coming in and doing that for us because that’s his business and how he pays his mortgage. To come and do that for us when someone could have been paying him was very good of him.”

Summing up how pre-season is going so far, with Oldham game just over two weeks away, Finn said:

“We’re getting there. We are improving week on week. But everybody is in the same boat. Nobody has a clue how their pre-season is going until they start playing really.

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“As much as we are measuring fitness and skills, until somebody comes up against you in a competitive game you don’t really know where you stand. We are working hard and getting ourselves prepared for it. That will be the first major test of a long season.”