“These opportunities don’t come round too often” - Grix looks ahead to Panthers’ historic play-off clash with Whitehaven
Play-off fever has arrived in Halifax as the Panthers prepare for a historic clash with Whitehaven in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
The Panthers booked their place in the play-offs weeks ago but their opponents were only confirmed last weekend after the Cumbrian outfit beat Bradford to secure a top six finish.
Halifax finished the regular season in third despite a run of four defeats from their last five games.
Despite their lack of form, head coach Simon Grix is excited about the upcoming occasion.
“We worked really hard to get to where we are,” said Grix. “We earned our position here and we want to give a good account of ourselves.
“The last couple of play-offs we’ve been to, they’ve been in different formats against Super League opposition. We had a hiding in them, we didn’t really have a chance.
“But we’re in these play-offs now. I know form hasn’t been great, the results haven’t gone our way recently, but it’s knockout rugby. We have a chance to get to a semi-final and see what happens from there.
“I’m looking forward to it, everyone should be excited for it. Everything will be thrown this week, kitchen sink and all.”
Grix became head coach at the club in May 2019 but due to a Covid-19 plagued campaign in 2020, this has been his first full season in charge.
He said: “I’m proud of what we’ve done. I feel like this is my first full year with my team and a lot of my decisions. It’s gone well. We had a shaky start and there was a lot of doubt. A lot of people had a lot to say and we turned it around, we believed it could.”
Despite a bumpy start to the season, Halifax went on to win 13 of the 21 Championship games. Grix believes that a strong work ethic was one of the keys to their success saying: “I can’t put it down to any one thing but what I can say is that we work hard.
“We’ve got a hard-working group who have wanted to achieve something special this year. Which in relative terms, for us finishing where we have in the table is something special.
“We’ve got individuals within it who have a really good attitudes that drag others along.
“The addition of Adam Tangata has been good. He’s come back a different player. I think Scott’s [Grix] experience has been invaluable. We’ve had a couple of new faces that have gone well for us. I think Zack McComb is career player really. We haven’t worked out his best position yet but I think he’s a career player for Halifax.
“He’s done some really good stuff.
“I could keep going on, I could say something about every individual to be honest. They’ve enjoyed being part of each other’s company all year so it would be nice to finish on the right note.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s match, Grix added: “It’s not like Challenge Cups where they are bonus competitions. If you get far in them, it’s a bonus. This means a lot. You can play a long time in your career and never make finals. These opportunities don’t come round too often for the boys so I’m sure they’ll be leaving it all out there.”