Simon Grix ‘looking forward’ to Halifax Panthers’ derby clash with Bradford Bulls
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Fax returned to winning ways last weekend by knocking Barrow Raiders out of the Challenge Cup after the Cumbrians had secured their first league win of the season against Grix in the game before.
But the Panthers’ second half performance on Sunday has given Grix plenty to think about ahead of what he insists will be a ‘tough and physical’ encounter with the Bulls.
He said: “We were the better team from minute one and I was pleased with the first 40 as that is how we have been practising all year and how we want it to look. Unfortunately, the second half was how we have been performing all year.
“It was a mixed bag with lots of good stuff intertwined with lots of average stuff and some poor tries conceded. It’s really frustrating but it isn’t for a lack of effort. We’re just not nailing it for the full part.
“If we’re getting 70 minutes then I’m not complaining but when it’s only 40 it’s quite frustrating. Fortunately Barrow didn’t have enough to nick it and take it from us but Bradford certainly have.
“They have a lot of quality in their team and we are going to have to be good, and better than we have been so far, if we want to continue our home run.
“Bradford is one that doesn’t take much motivation from my side of the fence. Derby games are the ones to look forward to.
“I will make sure they have got as much information as they need on Bradford and then we have just got to come and do us, and do it for a longer period of time, and I think it will put us into a good position.
“We just need to improve our concentration and respect for the ball. In the end, the longer you have got it, the opposition can’t score can they. Turning it over on play two as cheaply as we have been doing at times is not good enough.
On his experiences of playing - and coaching - against the Bulls, and their start to the 2023 campaign, Grix said:
“We have had some great games and I have been on either side of the result, as a coach and as a player.
“I think they have improved significantly on last year in terms of personnel and Mark (Dunning) has done a good job in getting the club to invest and improve their squad. They have definitely come on in leaps and bounds.
“I think they are much like us at the start of this season, like a lot of the Championship, up and down, win one, lose one, the inconsistency is still there. It’s probably as frustrating for Mark as it is me at the moment.
“It’s a Monday night, which is far from ideal in terms of prep but I’m hoping all the hardcore fans can turn out and get behind us for what will be a tough game and a physical encounter.
“There is obviously a lot of emotion around the fixture so hopefully we can do our bit.”