‘It is certainly something which I will remember’ - Outgoing Simon Grix praises Halifax Panthers stars after 1895 Cup triumph

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Halifax Panthers’ head coach Simon Grix says his side’s 1895 Cup Final victory at Wembley is an achievement he will ‘certainly remember’ as he gets ready to leave the club at the end of the season.

There is still plenty of work to be done at The Shay between now and the season’s climax, as Fax look to cement their place in the Championship play-offs, but Grix admitted the club’s success at Wembley against Batley Bulldogs in a thrilling finale - in their visit since 1988 - will not be forgotten in a hurry.

After the dramatic 12-10 win, he said: “It is certainly something which I will remember and it is a really good achievement for the club.

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“I thought we were dominant, all game, to be honest. They put us under pressure near the end but we had enough energy because we had dominated the rest of the game.

Simon Grix with the 1895 Cup trophy after Halifax Panthers' final victory over Batley Bulldogs. (Photo by Simon Hall)Simon Grix with the 1895 Cup trophy after Halifax Panthers' final victory over Batley Bulldogs. (Photo by Simon Hall)
Simon Grix with the 1895 Cup trophy after Halifax Panthers' final victory over Batley Bulldogs. (Photo by Simon Hall)

“If you’d have told me at the beginning of the year that you can win the 1895 and be sixth in the table at this point in the year I’d probably be like, ‘I want to be further up that table.’ But we’re not getting to Wembley as a club unless it’s the 1895 in our current circumstances, same goes to Batley and most other clubs in the Championship.

“So to get here, it is an achievement and it’s not been an easy road either. There’s a lot that goes into the story and we’ll definitely enjoy it. But we need to let it settle in because they don’t come around too often.”

Praising the Bulldogs, who came within a Luke Hooley kick away from ensuring the game went to golden point extra time after a dramatic Elliot Kear try after the hooter, Grix said:

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Halifax Panthers celebrate after winning the 1895 Cup at Wembley

“What a super try they scored at the end. I wanted to applaud it. I thought he’d get it (Hooley). I was sending the message for them to breathe and get a little oxygen in there as Hooley doesn’t miss that many. He is a very consistent kicker and he’s proved that over time.

“Not only that, he put himself in good spots and stretched us. When it went silent, and our fans were at that end, I thought it had gone over but the flags stayed down and the cheers go up.

“We made them score on the last play and if that was any closer he’s that good he gets it over. Unfortunate for him to finish the game that way but I thought it would have been criminal if we had drawn, lost, whatever it might have been, because I thought we were that good and dominant for most parts.”

He added: “It was a great game and we showcased what the Championship is. It might not be the prettiest at times but you have got a lot of committed blokes who have got difficult lives in this part-time environment and both sides left it all out there.”

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On who impressed him during the game, the soon-to-be departing head coach said:

“I thought Brandon Pickersgill was great, solid at the back, cleaned up a few things and came up with some big plays for us. Saltonstall came up with some big carries and tough tackles.

“All of them. I can’t single anyone out too much. I thought they were all great and they all left it out there.”