Sheffield Eagles are 'step-up' in opposition for Halifax Panthers says boss Grix

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Sheffield Eagles will represent a step-up in opposition admits Halifax Panthers boss Simon Grix ahead of this weekend’s Betfred Championship clash, writes Seb Sternik.

Fax, who are in the midst of a five-match winning run, picked up their latest victory away in the north east after beating Newcastle Thunder 30-10.

The West Yorkshire outfit scored five of their six tries in the opening half-hour, before taking their foot off the gas and cruising towards the two points.

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While the result was undoubtedly a positive one, Grix was not completely satisfied with the performance, saying: “We did a good job and we’ve been doing a good job.

Simon Grix. Picture: Simon HallSimon Grix. Picture: Simon Hall
Simon Grix. Picture: Simon Hall

“But I felt like that one against Newcastle, we did ‘just’ a good enough job. I felt we could’ve done a bit better.

“Newcastle played quite a spirited game to be fair. They had a lack of cohesion I suppose, with the number of changes they had in their team - I think we had an opportunity to put a bit of a job on them.

“We did enough in the end, but I think we need to be better than that.

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“We’ve got a couple of really tough games coming up. It’s a bit of a learning curve all the time isn’t it.”

Next up for Halifax is a home clash against an in-form Sheffield team. The Eagles have won six of their last 10 competitive games, and only lost against high-quality opposition in Leigh, Featherstone and Hull FC [in the Challenge Cup].

“Sheffield are a good team,” said Grix. “They’ve got [Anthony] Thackery, Tom Holmes, Kris Welham, Ben Jones-Bishop; a lot of quality players across the field.

“I think Mark [head coach, Aston] has done a really good job with putting his team together.

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“He’s got a good team there who work hard. Big set of boys through the middle.

“They’re a tough contest for us and I think they’re a step up in the level of competition we’ve had for last few weeks.”

Sheffield were in action last weekend as they lost 30-12 against Leigh in the 1895 Cup semi-final.

Despite the defeat, the Eagles impressed after taking a 10-6 half-time lead and holding on to their advantage until the 67th minute.

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Halifax, in contrast, enjoyed another weekend off, but Grix doesn’t believe that will serve as an advantage, adding: “There’s pros and cons. Sometimes when you’re in the swing of play, things are a bit easier as opposed to having the weekend off.

“It can have an adverse effect at times. It certainly won’t be an excuse. We know what we’re up against.”

Grix added: “They went well against Leigh. I did watch the game. Definitely put on a good performance against a team that along with Featherstone are probably head and shoulders above the rest of us at the minute. They will be proud of that and it gives them something to build on. They’ve had two quality games going into this one.”

Halifax and Sheffield go head-to-head at the Shay on Sunday at 3pm.