New Hull FC assistant coach Simon Grix left Halifax Panthers in ‘better position’ than when he took over, says new head coach Liam Finn
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Grix led Fax to a Challenge Cup semi-final in his first few months in charge, as well as guiding the club to back-to-back third place finishes in the Championship in 2021 and 2022.
This year, before leaving The Shay to join Hull FC in Super League as an assistant coach to Tony Smith, Grix, arguably, achieved his greatest triumph in his tenure thanks to the Panthers’ splendid 1895 Cup Final victory at Wembley against Batley Bulldogs.
“He deserves it,” said Finn, on Grix’s move to the MKM Stadium. “He has worked really, really hard at Halifax and, when he took over the squad, they were decent and competitive, but there were a few people that needed moving on and he needed to tidy the squad up and rebuild it.
“Most people will agree that he has left it in a better position than when he took over. If you do that as a coach you have pretty much done what you were required to do.”
However, Grix, and Fax, were unable to secure their spot in the end of season play-offs after failing to beat Swinton Lions on the final day.
Finn said: “I think everybody was disappointed with the finish. But you can look back, reflect and say it was a pretty successful season in a lot of ways. We walked away with one of the three trophies available after a really long season with a small squad. It probably took its toll in the end, as it did with Batley as well.
“I know everyone was disappointed not to make the play-offs and it was a disappointing performance on the last day but, ultimately, winning the cup and only being four points away from finishing third shows how tight a competition it actually is in the Championship and how tough it is to get into that top three or four.”
Finn’s squad to tackle 2024 is “85 per cent” complete before pre-season training starts again next month, with the new boss laying down “simple” expectations for his troops.
He said: “There are a few players we are speaking to and negotiating with at the minute. We are getting players offered by agents but we have identified players and are trying to go out and get the ones we want first.
“There are a couple of those that are ongoing at the minute and it’s always a time where it’s up in the air and it could go right or you could get the plug pulled. We’ve got a few players in mind and we’re down the track on talking to them.”
He added: “The expectations are simple. Everybody just needs to work their hardest, come in, work hard, get a fair bit of team spirit and look after each other. We will come up with a few tweaks in how we play but it doesn't need any radical changes.
“We’re in a good position and I think we will be more than competitive.”