Halifax’s experienced forward Ben Kavanagh is predicting a ‘harder, more intense’ pre-season regime as the club’s players prepare to go back to work this week.
Kavanagh and his teammates return to training on Tuesday night as coach Simon Grix prepares for his first full season in charge.
Grix quit playing to step into the hotseat at the end of May following the exit of Richard Marshall and, despite an unlikely charge to the Challenge Cup semi finals, struggled to reverse the club’s indifferent form.
But Kavanagh, who has known Grix since the pair were scholarship colleagues during Fax’s Super League tenure in the late 1990s, believes the former Warrington star was always up against it as he tried to generate a revival.
“I’ve known Simon a long time,” said Kavanagh.
“I was on the scholarship here before I went on to Wigan, so I’ve known him since I was 12 or something like that.
“Look, he just took over what the club already had in place.
“He inherited a squad midway through a season and there’s not always a lot you can change at that point.
“I think pre-season will be different, a lot harder, a lot more intense, and I think that will set us up for a good year.
“That final game against York was an improvement even though we didn’t win; we had some people who were retiring or leaving and we wanted to make it a special day for them.
“We worked hard for each other, so collectively we were a lot better.
“But we need to have that attitude consistently through the year and a good pre-season is the first step towards that.
“We start again now and hopefully we can find some improvement.”
Kavanagh’s form during his first season with his hometown club, by his own admission, lacked consistency.
But with a new two year deal signed and sealed, the Scotland international is expecting more from himself and his teammates.
“I’ve not been at the level I want to be this year,” he said.
“I’ve shown glimpses, but it’s not been consistent.
“I can’t blame the team for that; even if the team isn’t going well, so you can still play well individually.
“I played those last few games in the back row, which I enjoyed, and maybe I can play there a bit more next year.
“I want to show what I’m about this year.”