It is the start of a new beginning for Simon Grix’s Halifax side, who now have adopted the moniker “Panthers”, their first associated nickname for nearly 20 years.
Perhaps it’s a sign considering they were a regular outfit in Super League when known as the “Blue Sox” before that all changed in 2003.
Now ‘Fax return for another shot at the big time as their squad is well and truly taking shape.
Full-back: Scott Grix
Back for another year under his brother is Scott Grix, who will slot in at full-back. Given his previous playing days in Super League with Wakefield and Huddersfield, Grix will be set for at least another year and can still go strong in the Championship.
Wingers: Nick Rawsthorne & James Saltonstall
Nick Rawsthorne returns to his old stomping ground that he left back in 2016, replacing the retired Shaun Robinson. A frequent try-scorer with the Toronto Wolfpack, Rawsthorne just needs a run of games together to rediscover his talent for finishing. James Saltonstall has been a regular at the club since 2015, effectively averaging a try in every two appearances.
Centres: Greg Worthington & James Woodburn-Hall
Greg Worthington has had strong spells with Featherstone Rovers, Leigh Centurions and Toronto Wolfpack, having scored up to 90 tries. Jamaican international James Woodburn-Hall is in his sixth year at the club, having shown promise to become a first team regular and possessing the ability to rotate between positions in the back line.
Stand-off: Liam Harris
It may not have worked out at Hull FC but Liam Harris now has his chance to shine. He knows his way to the try line, as well as assisting, and at the age of 23, has plenty of youth and energy to provide ‘Fax in 2021.
Scrum-half: Connor Robinson
Returning for his second spell at Halifax is Connor Robinson. Having played at Hull Kingston Rovers and York City Knights, Robinson has developed great leadership qualities, not to mention his superb goal kicking.
Props: Elliott Morris & Dan Murray
Having come through the ranks, Elliott Morris has become one of Halifax’s most consistent performers. Dan Murray previously had a loan spell with ‘Fax in 2017 and now begins as a fully formed Blue and White. His time at Salford and Hull KR saw him show promise and his time at ‘Fax could be what he needs to return to the top flight in the near future.
Hooker: Brandon Moore
A loyal and gifted player, Brandon Moore is entering his sixth year for the club. His quick thinking from acting half has helped ‘Fax become a dangerous outfit at times and at 24-years-old, is at a good age to organise and lead by example.
Second-rowers: Matt Garside & Kevin Larroyer
Matt Garside has produced consistency for the likes of York, Sheffield, London and Bradford. Though yet to generate momentum for Halifax, Garside has shown bouts of skill as a support player and could have a big year at the club in 2021. Kevin Larroyer has been a good performer during his career and should he have better luck with injury, could still produce the goods for the club in 2021.
Loose-forward: Jacob Fairbank
Local lad Jacob Fairbank has been a loyal and consistent servant to the club and will be back for another shot with the club in 2021.
Despite his off-field controversy, Ed Barber remains a strong performer for the club. Able to come off the bench and cover more than one position, Barber will stay an asset heading forward.
French international Gadwin Springer produced bouts of sheer strength during his days with both Castleford Tigers and Toronto Wolfpack. Still with years ahead of him, Springer can be a handful for all opposition in 2021, especially if he can rediscover his previous best.
His third year at his hometown club, Ben Kavanagh will hope to bow out on a high. The Scottish international has been a strong performer in the pack, having over 300 professional appearances to his name and having another ‘wise head’ in the team can give the Blue and Whites an advantage over others.
One of their many products in their old reserves team, Connor Davies could very well bag plenty of game time for Halifax in 2021. He has performed well enough to earn a call up to the Wales international team, and Davies, as a substitute hooker, can relieve Moore at any time with a healthy relationship potentially developing between the pair.