Self belief is key for Halifax Panthers in second clash with Featherstone Rovers

After becoming the first team to give Featherstone a serious run for their money this season, Halifax Panthers are determined to go one step further when they meet Rovers in a rematch at the Millennium Stadium, writes Seb Sternik.

By Mark Berry
Thursday, 3rd March 2022, 2:15 pm
Updated Thursday, 3rd March 2022, 2:16 pm
Head coach Simon Grix thinks that Halifax Panthers showed too much respect to Featherstone Rovers in last week's cup defeat. Pic: Simon Hall
Head coach Simon Grix thinks that Halifax Panthers showed too much respect to Featherstone Rovers in last week's cup defeat. Pic: Simon Hall

Last Sunday, the Panthers bowed out of the Challenge Cup following a 29-16 fourth round defeat at the Shay. This weekend, the focus turns to the Betfred Championship.

Halifax showed their best side in the second-half of Sunday’s defeat, yet they closed the gap to six-points on two occasions and gave the visitors problems right until their match-ending try in the final minute.

“We probably gave them too much respect and let them dictate, which was disappointing on our home patch,” said Panthers boss Simon Grix. “But after addressing that at half time, we came out and showed our style of play, how we want to play.

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“The lesson learned is you can’t play well for 25, 30 minutes - particularly against the competition favourites. You’ve got to be in it from minute one. I don’t think we started believing we were going to be the dominant team until minute 41 to be honest.

“We’ll take a lot of encouragement from it, but the thing for me is belief. We showed some quality and the lads need to believe that and display it from minute one.”

Featherstone have been one of the dominant sides in the Championship and are currently the bookmaker’s favourites to finally clinch promotion.

York, Leigh, Workington and London have all tried their luck against Rovers this season, but all failed to pose a realistic threat.

Halifax will be hoping to change that as they target their first league win over Brian McDermott’s side since July 2018.

Grix added: “You might say we’ve done alright with them, and maybe given them their best game so far, but we’re not really in for that are we? We want to beat them, we want to give them a game.

“I’m happy we’ve competed for the period we did but it’s believing we can do it from minute one, and taking Fev deep into the game. Keeping it tight until the last five minutes is where you need to be against the good teams. Then your belief just grows throughout the game.

“I think we’re a fit team. We’ve got a fit set of lads. I thought physically we looked really good. They’ve got a few freakish beasts in there, few big boys who are tough to handle, and for the most part we managed them quite well.

“Overall, I thought we were stood up, chests out for the majority of the game. Our body language looked pretty good.”