Halifax centre Steve Tyrer Q+A
Serious About Rugby League caught up with Halifax talisman Steve Tyrer as his side prepare for a tough run-in to end the Championship season.
The West Yorkshire side currently sit in fourth-place but with fixtures against Featherstone, London and Toulouse on the horizon, Fax will have to be on the top of their game if they are to seal a third Qualifiers berth in four seasons.
Halifax have been rightly praised for their outlook on the reserve grade system, with a number of players progressing through the ranks and playing a big part in the first team.
Tyrer discusses this success as well as other topics including the club’s underdog status and drawing on past experiences in the middle eight.
SARL: Steve, we are coming towards the end of the regular season and Fax are in with a shout of the top four again. How good have the lads been this year?
ST: In terms of our motivation, it’s probably been a bit of a normal season. When it comes to the top four, everyone at the start of the year writes us off so it’s become normal for us. Nobody really learns about our team so we go under the radar all year. Now we are getting into the business end, we do obviously have a tough run-in but we’re feeling good and we’re ready for it.
SARL: Obviously there are always times where teams go through a rough patch. There were some fans critical of Richard Marshall (earlier this year) but was the confidence always there that the team could turn their fortunes around?
ST: Every game is tough against teams in this league. You can have a month or so where things don’t go right for you. Leigh had it at the start of the season and they found out how hard this league can be. I don’t think we have had that as much this year but there have been times where fans get a little worked up and voice their opinions. I don’t think it’s been too bad this year. Our supporters group, LS28, have had a massive effect on the club and the supporters are pulling in the right direction.
SARL: You and the team have had experience of the Qualifiers in 2015 as well as last year. How important will that be heading into these next few games?
ST: We have been in positions, like last year for example where we had four games left and we had to win them all. We are probably in that situation now but there’s four or five other teams in that situation, whereas last year it was just us. I’m confident that we are going to be good enough and have enough to do it but it’s going to be a crazy four or five weeks coming up. There’s going to be a lot of twists and turns, we’re pretty confident we can keep our own house in order and go about our business.
SARL: You had a superb end to last season, getting results against Hull KR, Toulouse and Featherstone. How much can you take from that as it is still the same set of players?
ST: It is pretty much the same. The core of the squad has been the same for the past two or three years. Going back to last year, those last four games were do or die from Bradford through to Hull KR. It’s going to be the same now but we are in a better place as a team than we were last year. Last year was a crazy momentum swing. We went into those last four games and we were playing absolutely awful. We went to Toulouse and thought if we are going to go down, let’s go down swinging. We beat them, then Featherstone and Hull KR. It was amazing but I don’t think we are in that position this year. We are taking some form into these last four or five games so it feels a bit different.
SARL: Arguably, Halifax have got the toughest run-in of the teams competing for a top four spot. I guess that’s something that won’t faze the players at all?
ST: In my own opinion, I’d rather be playing these teams than playing the teams scrapping with relegation. You get a little bit complacent with that. We have got Rochdale the last game of the season and it could be an occasion where we have to beat them. Getting fired up for those games can be a bit of a challenge for the so-called top teams. We are confident we can beat whoever is put in front of us. We’ve already beaten Featherstone and London this year so we are confident we can play against these teams. Week-by-week, we’ve got Barrow who are a very tough team to play at their place then we go to Featherstone.
SARL: About the club in general, there does seem to be a good buzz around the Shay at the moment?
ST: The whole club thrives on the underdog mentality. I’m not having a dig at the media as you look at the club and what we spend, and obviously we are going to be the underdogs. But the club have got used to it now, the fans enjoy it, the supporters club enjoys it, the players thrive off it. We enjoy being told we are not good enough and we like to see it. It fires us up. We run a reserve grade as well which everyone in the game wants to see clubs doing so the fact we do that and play our players that come through it makes Halifax a very popular club.
SARL: As well as the buzz, getting to play your own players from the reserve grade must give off a good feeling?
ST: There’s been a lot of talk about Chester Butler in the last few months and rightly so, the lad’s doing it well. There’s other boys who would have probably been lost to the game if we weren’t running a reserve grade. Elliot Morris, Brandon Moore came through at Cas but he also came through our reserve grade because he didn’t have much else going on. In my own opinion, it’s a bit silly that it’s not right through the game. The fact that we do it and everyone who is a part of it, and the Fax Supporters Trust who run it, can all be proud of themselves and hold their heads up high about it.