Halifax have handed interim boss Simon Grix a two and a half season deal to coach his hometown club.
Grix, a former King Cross junior who began his playing career with Fax before spending a decade in Super League with Warrington, was officially confirmed as Richard Marshall’s permanent successor at a Press conference at the Shay on Wednesday.
The 33 year old back rower secured his fourth straight win since stepping into the role with Saturday’s 21-14 Summer Bash success over Bradford.
“I am obviously happy with things,” said Grix, who had been widely tipped to take the job full time, despite his relatively slim coaching CV.
“It was an offer, not a discussion, so the club are obviously comfortable with what we’re doing.
“There are not many professional coaching jobs out there, that’s the reality.
“Is it a bit early in my career to be a head coach? Maybe it is.
“But I’ve had two years as an assistant, been around some good environments as a player and until someone gives you an opportunity to be a head coach, you can’t get that experience, can you?
“I’ve said before that I feel I’m ready and the length of the contract gives us time to build something, to put things in place.
“The last month or so has been good; we have worked hard as a group and we have changed some things that have improved us.
“I know, and the players know, we are still a way off where we want to be, but we’ve made some progress.”
Grix outlined a long term vision for the club focused on a homegrown playing roster and, ultimately, a full time squad with the objective of Super League rugby.
“It can’t be a flash in the pan, it needs to be sustainable, but that’s the long term goal,” he said.
“I want to see more local players playing for the club, that’s important; I know Shaun Wane believed that at Wigan, for example, and he went a long way towards achieving that.
“We want some of those young lads that currently go to Super League clubs to come here and maybe some of the experienced players come back too.
“I think it’s difficult to chase the Championship title with a part time team now, so the first objective is to work towards a position where you can have a full time team.
“When you’ve done that, the next step beyond that is to start thinking about Super League.
“A lot comes down to money, especially with the expansion teams coming in.
“But I’d like to think it’s still possible; I hope the people involved at the club would think it’s possible as well.”
On Grix’s immediate agenda is Sunday’s trip to Batley (3.0), with the Challenge Cup quarter final against the Bulls looming the week after.
“We can’t afford to get distracted by the Cup,” he warned.
“Because we’ve lost some games already, we can’t really afford to start dropping points so we’re certainly not going to take Batley lightly.
“We want to keep building momentum now and while there are some players who have probably earned their places the following week, there are some that still have some work to do.”
Grix, who confirmed attempts to sign a new ‘middle’ player to effectively his own place in the playing squad, were ongoing, hopes to have Ben Kavanagh available, despite a knee injury sustained against the Bulls.
The backline players who missed out last week - James Saltonstall, Ben White and James Woodburn-Hall - could also come into contention, along with young Wales hooker Curtis Davies.
“Kav had a scan on his knee and the results from that were okay, so we’ll see how he goes through the week,” said Grix.
“We’ve a few sore bodies too, which might prompt some changes.”