Scott Grix keeping expectations low as Halifax seek Challenge Cup history

Scott Grix
Scott Grix

Halifax coach Simon Grix is not making any bold predictions as his part-time Championship club seek to make history.

No club outside the top flight has ever reached the Challenge Cup final and Grix's men are a 200-1 shot to win at Wembley.

Their opponents St Helens have won their last 14 meetings with Halifax, whose last victory was in May, 1998, and not even Grix expects that run to end in Saturday's semi-final at Bolton.

"You've got to be realistic, haven't you?" he said. "They would have to be really bad and we would have to be really good for us to beat Saints.

"Truth be told, I'm not too interested in the result, I'm more bothered about us controlling what we can control and the effort that we pride ourselves on week to week and judge each other on as well.

"That's the most important thing. If we can do a good job on that front, I'm happy."

Grix, who is just three months into his first job as a head coach, added: "You're talking about full-time and part-time.

"They get twice the contact time we get. Their job is purposely looking after their bodies and preparing themselves; our lads are up and down ladders and all the rest of it.

"We'll try our best and enjoy our day."

Saints out to avoid upset

St Helens will be out to ensure lightning does not strike twice at the University of Bolton Stadium, where they experienced a shock 35-16 defeat by Catalans Dragons in last year's semi-finals.

"Last year was definitely disappointing, it still is," said Saints coach Justin Holbrook, who continues to be linked with the vacancy at Gold Coast Titans.

"Saturday will be seen as an opportunity to put some of that disappointment behind us.

"If you get something wrong, all you ever want to do is have another shot at it. We've had to wait 12 months for it.

"Last year we just didn't play well enough on the day. To Catalans' credit, they came out at 100 miles an hour and blew us off the park.

"We've got to be aware of that and be aware that Halifax will be at their best on Saturday."

Last year's runners-up Warrington will go into the other semi-final, to be played as a double-header, as favourites to beat Hull.

The Wolves go into the game on the back of consecutive Super League defeats, in contrast to their opponents who have won their last two, but Hull coach Lee Radford admits league form will be irrelevant.

Counting on class

"I think the cup is a different competition altogether," Radford said. "Everyone knows the importance of the game, you get one shot at it, you leave nothing in the tank.

"Like all semi-finals, whichever team makes the most of the momentum and their opportunities on the day comes away with the spoils and we're hoping we've enough quality in our locker room and enough class to make the most of that."

Radford is relieved that ace marksman Marc Sneyd, has overcome a back spasm.

Sneyd, Lance Todd Trophy winner as man of the match at Wembley in 2016 and 2017, demonstrated his temperament by winning last Sunday's game at Leeds with a touchline conversion.

"When it's going to be nip and tuck, he's probably the bloke you need at the wheel," Radford said.

"He's delivered for us now consistently for the last couple of seasons, given that role, and, if he can drag on more out on Saturday, that would be nice."

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