Grix: Halifax Panthers need to be more ruthless

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Halifax Panthers head coach Simon Grix wants to see more ruthlessness and a better clinical edge as his side prepare for the final two regular season games, writes Seb Sternik.

Fax travel away to Widnes on Monday night and close out the Betfred Championship campaign against Featherstone a week later before turning their attention to the play-offs.

As things stand, the Panthers need to avoid defeat in order to mathematically seal a third-placed finish and, consequently, a home quarter-final play-off game.

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Speaking after last weekend’s convincing victory over the Bradford Bulls, Grix said: “We will have to play the better patches of our game and take the points when we are in them with a bit more ruthlessness and a bit more of a clinical edge.

Halifax Panthers celebrate during their win over Bradford Bulls. Pic: Simon HallHalifax Panthers celebrate during their win over Bradford Bulls. Pic: Simon Hall
Halifax Panthers celebrate during their win over Bradford Bulls. Pic: Simon Hall

“We’ve definitely got a chance of doing something in the play-offs. Hopefully, if we knock one more [win] off to make sure we have third, have a home game in the play-offs.

“It is just a piece of grass at the end of the day, but when you start that competition, it’s a one off.

"If you have it at home, it helps for the general prep of the game.

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"We won’t go too far ahead though. We’ll look at Widnes this week.”

The Vikings have had Fax’s number in recent years with nine wins from the most recent 11 meetings.

Last season, Widnes memorably snapped the Panthers’ nine-match winning run with a comfortable 25-6 win at the Halton Stadium.

“Last year was an anomaly performance,” said Grix. “We had been going well, we turned up there and we were just awful.

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"It was a one of them comedy sketches where you just put that music over the top of it, it would have made sense. It was horrific.

“I look forward to going over there and playing them on what is a fast track over at Widnes.

"Hopefully we can showcase some of our skill but be a bit smarter, certainly better on goal line.”

Last weekend, Halifax picked up their 18th win from 20 games after beating Bradford Bulls for the fourth consecutive time – and third this season alone.

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The 40-18 victory meant a lot to the homegrown talent according to Grix who said: “The three over Bradford is great, being from Halifax.

“A lot of the lads being from Halifax, they understand the history around the fixture.

"The history around Bradford being far better resourced in Super League while we’ve been a very quiet neighbour. This year I think we’ve swung that round a bit.

“I thought we made really hard work of it. Little bit scratchy. It was just alright. I thought maybe we bought in to a bit of the drama that comes with these derby games.

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"The verbals and stuff. But we did some good stuff. I’m standing here sounding negative when we’ve just beaten Bradford 40-18, for the third time convincingly.

“There’s definitely some areas in there that were just soft. It was a bit of a second gear performance for most parts.”