“We have to meet fire with fire” - Panthers aiming to bounce back against Sheffield
Panthers boss Simon Grix is confident his side can bounce back strongly in their rearranged match this Sunday against Sheffield Eagles at the Shay.
The Panthers’ chief pointed to recent history against this weekend’s opponents, and he expects a tough match despite Sheffield having failed to win any of their previous five games.
“They’ve actually had the better of us a few times in previous years,” said Grix. “They have a lot of threats in their side. They picked up a few wins earlier on in the season, and we’ll need to be smart and clinical when new have the ball in hand.”
The Panthers suffered a home defeat in front of supporters against Featherstone Rovers last weekend, and Grix could not fault the application and desire shown by his team in front of a home crowd.
“I’m really proud of our effort and toughness, I thought we battled really well on that front,” he said. “However, you don’t get many chances against the better teams in the competition, and I thought we were a bit toothless at times.”
Grix knows that the Eagles will provide a stern test, and the Panthers’ boss wants to see his side play smarter rugby on Sunday as they return to home turf.
“They’ve been playing well. I’m not worried about wins and losses at the moment. Wins will come from good performances, and if we can keep our levels high, we won’t be far off.”
Greg Worthington echoed his coach’s sentiment, in recognising the challenge Sheffield with pose the Panthers.
He said: “They’ll be targeting the win to get their season back on track. They have been playing well even in the games that they have lost. We have to meet fire with fire, and get ourselves back to winning ways.”
Despite the Panthers emerging victorious from their last match against Sheffield, previous meetings between the two sides have been tightly contested.
Worthington maintains his side will continue their preparation to face a determined and disciplined Sheffield outfit.
“We won’t necessarily look at any previous results – we’ll look at how they’ve been playing and prepare for the best possible Sheffield,” he said.
The Featherstone defeat marked the first occasion supporters could grace the Shay’s terraces since lockdown, with Grix suggesting their impact was felt by himself and his side alike.
He said: “It was great to have them back, and they made some noise at the weekend. It drives some atmosphere, rather than having to focus on creating your own. It’s a nice reminder to the lads of what it means to people.”
For Worthington, the presence of fans can help the Panthers as they look to get the better of Sheffield in Sunday’s afternoon kick-off.
“It makes a massive difference, having some home fans in the ground. Hopefully we’ll have a few more in this week, as it seems the trial regulations have gone well,” he said.
“That’s the great thing about rugby, in that seven days after a loss you have a chance to put it right. It hurts, but we have to put it behind us and put in a positive 80 minutes against Sheffield.”