Panthers boss Grix keen to claim bragging rights over rivals Bradford

Halifax Panthers’ boss Simon Grix is keen to earn the bragging rights from Sunday’s Championship clash with rivals Bradford Bulls.

Friday, 16th April 2021, 12:00 pm
Halifax Panthers are aiming to build on their win against London Broncos. Simon Hall/OMH Rugby Pics

While Fax head into the second round match buoyed by their opening day win over London Broncos, Bradford come into the match with a point to prove having lost heavily to Sheffield.

A former Halifax player himself, Grix understands the importance of the game to both players and supporters alike, saying: “It’s just another game in a lot of ways, but they are our rivals.

“We have to be mindful of what it means to the people who follow us.

“We have a lot of local lads in our group now, and we are aware of the bragging rights and what is at stake.

“My focus is the two points, and coming up with the right plan to get them.

“When they cross the whitewash at the weekend, hopefully the lads will carry it out.”

Bradford have started their campaign with two consecutive defeats, which could suggest the Panthers travel to the Tetley’s Stadium as slight favourites.

However, Grix has not let the form guide impact his tactical planning, suggesting the loss of key players could have impacted the Bradford team over the past few weeks.

He said: “I expect them to have a couple of their important players back. Whilst we’ve had a bit of time off, so have they.

“That will have given them time to regroup and refocus, and they will be up for the fight after their loss last time. We haven’t got far enough into the season to be looking at form, and we just have to take each new challenge as it comes.”

He added: “Whilst the style of play has remained largely the same, teams are changing all the time in terms of their personnel. There has been a high player turnaround, and we have to do our homework on how this will affect our opponents’ setups.

“We have no Covid-19 issues at the moment but will test again. Jacob Fairbank is out of the game, he picked up a ban for scuffling in the London game. Sion Jones has gone to Hunslet on loan.

“He has been out for a long time with injuries, so hopefully he can get some match experience with them and build back up towards the level we know he is capable of.”

Grix hoped his side would be playing weekly matches after their time off, to develop a sense of momentum, heading into the rest of the season.

He said: “A lot of sides had the week off, so it’s probably too early in the season to make an impact.

“I think as the season progresses, we will be having the odd week off here and there. Providing Covid-19 doesn’t cause any issues, we should be having regular matches, which will allow us to get into a rhythm as we progress.”

Sunday’s match kicks-off at 5.15pm.