We must play smart to get the better of the Rams, says Panthers coach Grix

Connor McGrath scores for Halifax against OldhamConnor McGrath scores for Halifax against Oldham
Connor McGrath scores for Halifax against Oldham
Halifax Panthers must remove basic mistakes from their game should they want to compete this season, according to head coach Simon Grix.

Halifax were defeated for the third successive match last weekend, losing out 16-12 to Oldham.

While he has no doubt his side are positive and talented in possession, Grix was disappointed at the number of cheap penalties and poor errors his side made. He said: “It’s not an easy fix, as it’s spread throughout the whole team.

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“We all take ownership of it and will learn from it. It doesn’t matter who the opposition is, if you can’t put pressure on them in the right areas of the field, you can’t score points.”

Over the season, Grix has pointed out his side’s failure to secure consistent set completion on numerous occasions.

Halifax have been competitive but he believes that improving the basic elements and ensuring six strong carries with the ball can lay the foundations for better future results. He said: “I think we’re not completing anywhere near enough sets.

“When you complete them, you get a bit more energy and encouragement. Because it’s happened a few times, and it’s not gone right for us, we have put our effort into the wrong areas at the moment. We’re a talented side, but we’re not playing our best at the moment. We will get there, and by respecting the ball it will kick-start us.”

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The Panthers visit Dewsbury Rams on Sunday (5.15pm) and Grix expects a tough test in which a high completion percentage will potentially prove the difference between the two sides.

Grix said: “They’ll be tough for us. They have two good kickers and they’re well coached.

“They’re used to playing the Dewsbury way, they have a big physical pack. We need to be smart about how we approach them and if we do that, I can see us putting in a much better performance.”

The Panthers’ boss emphasised the need for cohesion among his players, and to ensure they play as a group, and not as individuals, saying: “We need to be on the same page.

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“When we have the ball, we need to cut out these errors, as this is what is proving costly for us at present.

“We can’t be playing out of our own half for half of the match, as we won’t win points that way.”

Grix knows that the onus will be on his players to find an extra level of motivation that cannot be presently provided by supporters. He said: “When we’re up against it, we need to find a way to get back in the game.

“The crowd would have been on our case, I’m sure they would.

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“Whether there are supporters or not, we have to make our own atmosphere. You have to celebrate when you play well and learn from it when you play badly.”

Meanwhile, forward Kevin Larroyer echoed Grix’s call for Panthers to get the basics right, adding: “We were dropping balls and giving silly penalties away [against Oldham].

“If you do that against a team like Oldham, you give them confidence and belief they can win the game.

“For the first five minutes of the second half, we were doing nothing other than defending. This gave them confidence, and eventually they got the winning try.

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“I feel we started well, but we have to stop making these errors, as they are costing us these matches.

“Individually and collectively, we are far off our potential. We have to compete for 80 minutes every week.”

Fax opened the scoring at Bower Fold on 18 minutes, Connor McGrath sneaking in at the corner and Connor Robinson converting.

Oldham hit back through Tom Brierley’s try but two minutes before the break, Ben Kavanagh put James-Woodburn Hall over and another Robinson conversion made the half-time score 12-4.

Fax errors presented Martyn Reilly with the chance to go over for a converted try on the resumption and Jack Croft went in at the corner four minutes from time to snatch a 16-12 win for the hosts.

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