Championship coach headed for Super League gig in 2024

Playing against Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves, Hull FC and Super League and World Champions Champions St Helens week in and week out in the Betfred Super League is the pinnacle for British rugby league.

For a club that has tasted that but have done without it for 20 years it makes things really tough on them.

We have seen that from Halifax Panthers who were in the semi-finals back in 1998 before being relegated in 2003 after a disappointing season.

They have been battling to return year on year ever since and have come close on a number of occasions.

As they chase that Super League dream however, Simon Grix will leave his position as Halifax Panthers head coach at the end of the season.

Grix, 37, has spent over four years as the club’s head coach but has decided to depart at the end of the season. His next destination has yet to be determined but with offers on the table for next year, Grix has informed the club of his intention to take on a new challenge next year in order to provide the club with as much time as possible to plan for the 2024 campaign and beyond.

He was appointed head coach midway through the 2019 campaign and enjoyed instant success, guiding the club to a historic Challenge Cup semi-final. Covid-19 saw the 2020 campaign cancelled but his two full seasons in charge to date have seen him deliver consecutive third-place finishes in a competition boasting clubs with much bigger resources.

The club has a long-term vision both on and off the field and that was demonstrated by the fact Grix was recently offered a long-term deal to stay at the club. But the lure of a new challenge will see him leave for pastures new next year.

Director of Rugby Richard Durgan, said: “Simon has informed the board he’s going to be taking up a new opportunity at the end of the season. From a personal point of view, I’m gutted. We have a really good working relationship and we’ve been together through some challenging times on and off the pitch. We’ve stuck together in the trenches and I’m sad to be losing him personally, but at the same time, I’m excited for him that opportunities have emerged, which is thoroughly deserved.”

“Thankfully, Simon’s decision to inform us at this stage gives us time. We don’t feel under any massive time pressure which we would have been if it was later in the season when a final decision was made, but equally, we won’t be hanging around. We’ve been well on with recruitment and got a lot of our business done early but we’re not full yet in terms of our playing squad, so there are some gaps to be filled. Of course, letting Simon’s successor have some input in those decisions would be preferable.”

“Simon will have some input in this process I’m sure and it will come down to myself and the board to go through that process. We’ve got a certain DNA in how we play rugby – a good, exciting brand. We want a coach who continues that brand.”

“Without pre-empting who these people will be, we have a lot going on, both on and off the pitch. We are looking at new training facilities, we have launched our PDRL and LDRL teams and the Ladies team is ongoing. It’s a really good time to be involved with the club.” Grix will now remain in charge for the rest of the season.”

The club take on London Broncos on Saturday with a place at Wembley up for grabs in the 1895 Cup Final and they currently hold a top-six spot.

It is expected that Grix will now head to Super League with The Game Caller even suggesting on Twitter that he is headed to Hull FC alongside Tony Smith.

Though that is yet to be confirmed. His brother Scott currently coaches at Leeds Rhinos.