Halifax up for Leigh challenge after eight-game winning run

Sebastian Sternik
Simon Grix Halifax Panthers

Photo courtesy of Halifax Panthers

Halifax boss Simon Grix isn’t getting carried away by his team’s eight-match winning streak, but says Leigh will see their weekend encounter as a big challenge.

Despite a whole host of rugby league games this weekend, there is one which stands above the rest – Leigh Centurions vs Halifax Panthers.

Leigh and Featherstone Rovers are the top two beasts in the Championship and so far, none of the other 12 teams in the league have managed to beat the Super League chasers.

That, however, could be about to change.

Halifax might be a part-time outfit, but all signs ahead of Sunday’s game appear to point towards a very close encounter.

Foresight to avoid double header

Firstly, the Panthers are in the midst of an eight-match winning run. Grix’s side haven’t tasted defeat since late March, and they’ll travel to Leigh on the back of a 66-0 thrashing of Dewsbury Rams.

That fixture took place on Tuesday night after both teams agreed to bring the match two days forward.

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The same cannot be said for Leigh who followed up last weekend’s 1895 cup triumph with a nail-biting win over Barrow on Thursday.

Lam’s men almost blew an 18-0 advantage as the Cumbrian outfit came back from behind and led 28-24 with 10 minutes to play.

Blake Ferguson’s late converted-try prevented an almighty shock, but with Leigh battered, bruised and facing a two-day turnaround before the next game, Halifax will be itching to take advantage.

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Extra preparation

When asked whether Fax’s two extra days preparation will make a difference, Grix played down any possible advantages.

He said: “Our lads are getting up and going to work first thing in the morning. They [Leigh] might play Thursday, but they’ll be looking after themselves as a full-time job.

“I don’t think it adds too much. If I was in their spot, I’d see this week as a really big challenge; and a test to where they are as a team. I don’t think they’ll be approaching it with any flippant mindset or dismissing anyone.

“I don’t think it’s like an opportunity week, because if I’m in Adrian Lam’s shoes, I’m taking this week really serious and probably take advantage of the fact they’re full time as well. They’ve got it all to play for, as have we.

“We’re in a good vein of form and we’ve got a lot of belief in our group and in what we can do. We’re not getting carried away, there’s a long way to go.”

After a shaky start to the campaign, Halifax have powered up the Championship standings and currently find themselves in fourth – two points behind York and six points adrift of Leigh.

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