"It's a sour note to finish on," says Grix after Panthers' play-off defeat to York

Halifax Panthers boss Simon Grix wants his side to learn from their heart-breaking play-off defeat against York City Knights.
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Fax were eliminated in the first round of the Championship play-offs after losing 26-24 against a determined Knights team at The Shay.

The result ended a historic season – which saw the Panthers post 20 regular season wins for the first time since 1990/91 – on somewhat of a sour note.

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Speaking after Sunday’s match, Grix underlined a lack of leadership in his team’s performance, saying: “I thought they [York] came with a nothing to lose attitude. To a man, I thought they showed a lot of desire and commitment.

Fax after their play-off defeat
Photo: Simon Hall/OMH Rugby PicsFax after their play-off defeat
Photo: Simon Hall/OMH Rugby Pics
Fax after their play-off defeat Photo: Simon Hall/OMH Rugby Pics

"They didn’t wait for someone else to do it. For us, the lesson there is, don’t wait for one individual to come and do something.

“I think we all needed to bring our best game tonight and unfortunately, we were looking over our shoulders for parts of that game, hoping someone else would get hold of it.”

Halifax enjoyed a 22-12 lead at the break but failed to score a single try after the restart as York mounted one of the all-time great comebacks.

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Grix added: “I don’t think we were smart enough. We still tried to play, but we just needed to change it a little bit, take their energy away. I think we just missed the trick on that early on.

"But to go in at half-time up, it put us in a really good position.

“We had a bit of a chat at half-time about just relaxing a bit, getting organised. We were pretty off the cuff, for a lot of what we did. That hasn’t been the case. We’ve been off the cuff when we get on the front foot, but you need to be organised to get the front foot rugby going. We lacked that.

“We had an opportunity in the second half to get some completions in, play at the right end of the field. I have no doubt points would’ve come for us. However, bit of indiscipline, and some quality play from York as well, that kept us pinned in our half and we just didn’t come up with the answers at the right times.

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“It is what it is. There’s winners and losers. Unfortunately for us, we’ll have to go away and lick out wounds, spend a bit of time stewing on it. And York get to go on and play another one.”

Grix also believes that the experience gained from the York defeat will serve the team well in the future, adding: “Inevitably the season’s success and failure will be determined by where you finish.

"Unfortunately, after being third best, and with daylight at times, it’s a sour note to finish on.

“I’ve been there as a player. It does take a bit to get over, but it also fuels you as well. And should we get into that position again, I think we’ll have quite a different method of how we approach it as individuals.”