Simon Grix surprised by Sean Long’s departure at Featherstone Rovers as Halifax Panthers’ head coach looks for repeat performance in ‘smash-and-grab’ 1895 Cup final against Batley Bulldogs
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Despite 19 wins in 21 league games, Fev confirmed Long’s “immediate departure” just 24 hours after Fax’s thrilling 25-22 victory over them at The Shay.
“It is very surprising,” admitted Grix. “But you never know what goes on behind the scenes. There will be more to it than meets the eye. It won’t just be because we beat them that Sean’s moving on. There’s obviously more going on there in the background.”
He added: “I think a loss wouldn’t do Fev any harm in terms of their season. They are comfortable in terms of where they sit in the table. When you’re winning all of the time it can get a little bit comfortable. A loss reminds them that they are vulnerable and they can be beaten and it might’ve spurred them on to concentrate a bit more and work that little bit harder.
“These things happen in sport and Fev will carry on, and so will Longy.”
And Grix is now wanting to take that performance and confidence into Saturday’s showpiece final at the national stadium. He said:
“It was a big two points, we needed them. It was a good performance which was the pleasing thing. I was happy with what we did. We’ve got some lads starting to hit some form now.
“Our performances have been getting better, steadily, which is good. It’s a one-off game, a smash-and-grab. You don’t have to be pretty. You just have to get the job done, whether that’s winning by one point, eight points, 20 points, it doesn’t matter because it’s not a points-difference game at the end of it. It’s about who gets the win in the 80 minutes or beyond.
“It should be a really good game, Batley are really good and do what they do really well. We’re certainly going to have to be much better than the last time we turned out against them.”