Championship coach set for Super League job

Former Warrington Wolves star Simon Grix’s time in charge of Halifax Panthers ended on a sour note.

The club missed out on the play offs for the first time in years after they were stunned by Swinton Lions in the final game of the season.

They trailed 18-4 against the relegation threatened Lions who wrapped up a 22-12 win in the second half despite more tries for Lachlan Walmsley.

This means Grix’s time in charge ends in disappointment as the club miss out on the play offs.

But, according to reports, he is headed for Super League with Hull FC replacing Gareth Ellis.

After over a decade of service to the Black & Whites on and off the field, the time has come for the 42-year-old to explore other career opportunities.

As a player, Ellis is immortalised as the captain that led the club to back-to-back Challenge Cup Final victories at Wembley in 2016 & 2017, making him arguably the most significant recruit of the Super League era.

He made a total of 127 appearances for the Airlie Birds across two spells, having come out of retirement to eventually hang up his boots in 2020. He made a total of 475 career appearances with Wakefield Trinity, Leeds Rhinos, Wests Tigers and Hull, including 38 international caps.

The former Great Britain back rower also recently joined an illustrious group of players in the club’s Hall of Fame, being inducted in January alongside Kirk Yeaman, Arthur Bunting and Jack Harrison VC MC.

Since then, Ellis has held a number of off-field roles, including the club’s Football Manager, Reserve team coach and Assistant Coach to the first-team for the last three years.

The 2023 Super League season will bring the curtain down on Ellis’ time at the club as he embarks on the next chapter of his life and career, but he will continue to have an honorary place at the club, alongside his family.

The club will mark the occasion with a tribute to Gareth at the end of the season.

Speaking on the decision, Gareth said he can reflect on his time at the club with pride and is excited about what the future holds.

“Rugby league has been my life since the age of 18, it is all I have known and now feels like the right time for me to explore new horizons and what else life has to offer, with both excitement and trepidation!

“I am looking forward to spending more time with my family who have been the constant force behind my rugby league career, enduring many sacrifices along the way, and the prospect of enjoying ‘normal’ life for a while is something I will relish.

“I am really excited about what the next chapter of my career will look like after rugby, but I will certainly miss the club and everyone I have had the privilege to meet and work with, not just former team mates and coaches, but those in the management and back office staff too, some of whom have become close, personal friends.

“Everyone is so passionate and care deeply about this club, we all live and breathe it 24/7, seven days a week, and they will always have my utmost respect and admiration.

“I will look back on my time at Hull FC with great fondness for everything we have experienced and achieved together, it has been such a special time during a fantastic career that I have been so fortunate to enjoy.

“I would like to thank everyone who has supported me throughout my time at the club and wish everyone the very best of success for the months and years ahead. I will continue to the visit the club, this time as a supporter and hope to be able to watch further success just around the corner.”

Commenting on Ellis’ departure, head coach Tony Smith, added: “Gareth has been a big part of this club for several years, giving everything on and off the field. Everyone across the club admires his character and appreciates what he has achieved – it has been a privilege to work with him.

“For him and us, it feels like a good time to explore other avenues for Gareth to develop further in whatever direction he wants his career to take. There eventually comes a time in coaching when it’s the right time to head in a different direction.

“Having spoken with Gaz at length about it and knowing him like I do, this feels like the right time for both parties.

“He certainly leaves with our blessing and everybody here wishes him well and thanks him for the incredible contribution he has made, and we look forward to still having him around the club for years to come.

“He has left a great impact here which is what anybody wants to do as a player or coach and he can walk away with his head held high as he embarks on whatever challenge comes next, in rugby league or elsewhere.”