Halifax’s caretaker boss Simon Grix dropped a heavy hint he would like to take charge of his hometown club on a permanent basis after beginning his tenure in the hot seat with a 32-24 win at Sheffield.
With young centre Chester Butler finally on the comeback trail with a two-try return, Fax bounced back from the drama of long-serving boss Richard Marshall’s exit on Friday evening with a determined, direct performance that keeps them in touch with the race for a play-off spot.
The visitors trailed 20-18 at the break, but showed more conviction than their hosts after it, with Butler’s late try clinching a crucial win.
“It’s been an interesting few days to say the least,” said Grix, who was only handed the reins on Friday evening, minutes before Fax’s final training session.
“Whether Rich was here or not, I’d have expected a reaction after the Toulouse game on Easter Monday, because that was embarrassing; some of the tries we conceded were pitiful.
“Look, we’re not going to start talking about perfection after one win; we have a lot of work to do and a lot we need to tidy up on.
“There were a few moments where we almost invited them back into the game, but for the most part it was quite an even contest and the lads have done really well.
“Easter is a tough period; I’ve done it in the not too distant past and I know what it feels like, it’s bloody hard to turn up and put something like your best out there.
“It was an emotional performance as much as it was a tactical and skilful performance.
I am really pleased with them all because it’s been a tough few days for everyone.
“Friday’s session was like a grenade had gone off; we had 45 minutes together and we changed some things just based on how I thought we could best utilise people.
“I wanted QLT and Scott to touch the ball more, which they did.
“The bones of it they bought into straight away, but we’ll be adding to that.”
“As far as my position goes, that’s a discussion we’ll have later
“Coaching has been a long-term ambition of mine and doing it at Halifax is right up there.
“I think I’m ready; I’ve been around good environments and good people for a long time.
“Until you’re in the hot seat, no one knows but we are going to speak this week and we’ll go from there.”
While Butler’s performance was eye-catching, with an assist for Ed Barber’s opener to go with his own brace, Fax were indebted to an all-action showing from winger Will Sharp.
“He’s a madman, Will,” laughed Grix.
“He’s worth his weight in gold; you get 100 per cent every week and he probably doesn’t always get the plaudits because people expect it every week.
“It’s nice to have Chester back too.
“He’s had 25 minutes in the reserves and half a pre-season game, so it’s his first real outing since the back end of last summer.
“Listen, he’s a talent; his challenge, like James Woodburn-Hall, is to put those games where he plays at a high level together over a number of weeks.
“He gives us another option, which was welcome as the team wasn’t far off picking itself today with the bumps and bruises we’ve picked up.”
Grix took the unusual option of only using two of his interchange players, leaving young hooker Curtis Davies and utility back Reece Chapman-Smith with clean kit, with the second of his changes, Connor Davies, not called upon until deep into the second half.
“Normally, you’d get through them all,” admitted Grix.
“But the times I had planned to use Reece and Curtis just weren’t the right times in the game when they came around.
“Reece would have come on and allowed us to push Q up into the line, but Q was having a good game and doing what I’d asked both him and Scott to do, which was to be more dominant.
“Brandon Moore has been one of our best players over the last couple of years; he’s physically capable of playing 80 minutes at hooker and still being sharp.
“I’ll have a look at it and see if we got it right, but we got the result, which suggests we might have done.
“Curtis and Reece will get their opportunities, that’s for sure.”