Hull FC confirm new assistant coach to Tony Smith with pair set for reunion

Drew Darbyshire
Simon Grix Halifax Panthers Alamy

Hull FC have confirmed the appointment Simon Grix as assistant coach to Tony Smith ahead of the 2024 Super League season.

Grix, a former Ireland international, links up with Hull having spent five seasons as head coach of his hometown club Halifax Panthers.

The 38-year-old led the Panthers to back-to-back third-placed finishes in 2021 and 2022, and guided his side to 1895 Cup success in August, beating Batley Bulldogs in the final at Wembley.

Grix played under Smith during his playing career at Warrington, helping the Wolves win three Challenge Cups.

On the appointment of Grix, Hull head coach Tony Smith said: “I coached Simon for a few years as a player at Warrington, but since he has retired from playing, I have watched him blossom into a fantastic, young British rugby league coach.

“He has done a fantastic job at Halifax. He’s made regular visits to wherever I have been coaching throughout my career, which demonstrates his keenness to develop his own coaching methods.

“We’re hopeful that Simon will be able to come in and apply some of the things he has learned in the last few years.

“Simon is as competitive as a coach as he was as a player, and having his input of values can only be a good thing for our club.”

Simon Grix keen to develop as a coach under Tony Smith

Grix says he wants to develop himself as a coach under the experienced Smith, and is keen to help make a positive impact to the Black and Whites set-up.

Grix said: “Halifax has been a great place for me to work and learn in the last few years. All of the players and the staff have been a pleasure to work with, and in truth, I could have stayed for a few more years, but I want to be in the coaching game for a while and the opportunity to continue learning with Hull FC is a massive one for me.

“Tony (Smith) is tried and tested. He’s one of the most experienced coaches in rugby league and that can only be a positive thing for my own personal development as a coach.

“In my last 12 months at Warrington, I was on the sideline for the majority of the time because I broke my leg, so I got to spend a lot of time around Tony just through not playing.

“One of the things that I’m looking forward to at Hull is the day-to-day development with players. At Halifax, where they only train in the evening, it’s difficult to be able to dissect everything as coaching staff and go through it fully in detail, whereas at Hull, it’s a full-time environment where you can critique one another and really get better from it.

“There is a great coaching team at Hull, with Tony and Stanley Gene. I know Michael Shenton and Pete Riding are doing some really good stuff behind the scenes with the youth, so it’s going to be great to work with such an experienced group of coaches.”

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