Halifax boss Grix wants players ready to hit ground running in Championship

Dan Fleming was one of several players absent
Dan Fleming was one of several players absent

Halifax boss Simon Grix kicked off his first close season as the club’s head coach last night, telling his players he wants them ‘ready to go’ when the Championship season starts in February.

Fax have been notoriously slow starters in recent years, relying on miraculous end-of-season charges to clinch the top four finishes of 2017 and 2018 and struggling to generate any momentum in the league this year after finding themselves on the backfoot early on.

“We’ve got a tough two or three months ahead of us,” said Grix, who will run a Tuesday-Thursday-Friday weekday schedule up until Christmas, with weekend sessions alternating between Saturday and Sunday.

“I want us ready to go to work when the Championship starts, not wait until March or April or May.

“There’s a lot to do; initially it’s about getting fit to play, and there’s only one way to do that, but we’ve also got some new faces coming in so we need to make sure we come together as a group.

“I want everyone to understand their role and what’s expected of them individually, but also how their role fits into the team structure.

“This week is about doing some testing, establishing some baseline values that we can revisit so we know we’re getting better rather than just guessing.

“We’ll also sit down with the players and lay out what our expectations and goals are and what the consequences are if people don’t meet those expectations.”

Grix won’t have his full squad available initially, with Wales trio Curtis and Connor Davies and Dan Fleming on leave after Nines duty in Sydney and other players away on holidays booked before the club’s season came to a premature end.

The coach is also optimistic there will be more new additions in the weeks ahead.

“We’re missing a few at the moment for various reasons, which is okay because we won’t be doing too much team-based stuff initially; the early focus is very much on conditioning,” said Grix, who still has a vacancy for a hooker to replace the departed Ben Kaye, while a second playmaker to join new boy Tom Gilmore is also believed to be on the agenda.

“We are definitely hoping to be able to make some further signings, but we’re not in a position to announce anything on that front yet.

“I’d like that to change over the next few weeks though.”