A new era for Halifax

Halifax head coach Simon Grix has called on his club’s historic Challenge Cup semi-final appearance to be the catalyst for a new era at one of the sport’s sleeping giants.

On Sunday the part-timers re-wrote history as a late James Woodburn-Hall try secured them a 16-20 victory over fierce rivals Bradford at Odsal, securing them a first semi-final appearance since 1988.

Grix, who was born in and has lived in the town throughout his life, was only three years old the last time Halifax reached this stage of the competition.

And while the prospect of a return to Wembley seems unthinkable after being drawn against St Helens, Grix hopes their success can help signal the re-birth of the 1987 winners.

“It means a lot to me,” Grix said.

“Rugby League has slid down the pecking order in our area, but hopefully some kids pick up a ball and are talking about Halifax rather than the Bulls and the Giants. It’s massive for a Championship team to get this far. It’s been a long time and we’ve earned it.

“I was still in nappies the last time it happened. It’s exciting for the town and the club.

“I’m sure we will be everyone’s underdog and everyone will want us to go and do well. The lads will be up on roofs, fitting boilers and laying bricks tomorrow. It’s back to reality.

“We got the team the other two wanted to avoid, didn’t we. It’s our final, let’s be right about it.

“We’ll go and give a good account of ourselves. It’s probably a tale the young lads in the team will be telling their grandkids about and it will also give our fans another day out.

“It was good for Rugby League. The spectacle would have been watched by many viewers and I think we will have kept people glued to the screen for 80 minutes.”

For full coverage of all the weekend’s Challenge Cup action, get hold of this week’s League Express, published today.