1st June 2019, 08:31 | ChallengeCup

Halifax boss Grix keen to pick brain of Challenge Cup opponent Kear

Halifax boss Grix keen to pick brain of Challenge Cup opponent Kear

Halifax’s rookie boss Simon Grix intends to take some tips from veteran coach John Kear but not before attempting to knock him out of the Challenge Cup.

Sunday’s quarter-final derby between Bradford and Halifax at Odsal, which will ensure a Championship presence in the draw for the last four, pits the apprentice against the master.

For most of his 27-year coaching career, Kear, 64, has become synonymous with the Challenge Cup, having guided Sheffield Eagles and Hull to surprise triumphs in 1998 and 2005 respectively, while Grix, 33, is just four matches into his rein as a head coach.

Grix joined Kear at a joint press conference in the week to promote Sunday’s tie and wants to meet up with him again in the coming weeks to pick his brains.

“John’s a good bloke and I know he’ll be there if I need him at some point,” said Grix, who succeeded Richard Marshall as coach of his home-town club.


“Obviously in the next two weeks we play each other twice, which is a bit bizarre, but once that’s over and done with, I’ll probably catch up with John to talk about coaching.

“You can’t get enough advice when you’re starting out and he’s done it all, hasn’t he?

“He’s been around a long time and knows how to get teams up for big occasions and I’m sure he’ll be doing it again this week.”

Kear puts his success down to inspiration drawn from the traditions of the 122-year-old knockout competition.

“I love this competition,” he said. “I remember as a kid watching it on TV.

“I played in two semi-finals but was never fortunate enough to get to a final and I think that fired me as a coach.

“It’s a magic competition. This is the tradition of rugby league whereas Super League is the innovation of rugby league. I am bit of an oldie so like the tradition.”

Grix also never got to play at Wembley despite being part of the Warrington squad that won the cup three times in four years from 2009-12.

“I’ve had someone else’s bad luck as well I think,” he said. “The first one I was injured, the next one I got pneumonia and for the final one I tore my pec about 10 weeks beforehand.

“I had the option to have an operation or rehab it and at the time I really wanted to make myself available for the final so I didn’t have the operation but I still ended up not getting selected because I didn’t have enough time to build any form.

“In hindsight I probably should have had surgery.

“So I’ve bittersweet memories. To miss out was a bit sickening but to see your best mates go out perform was brilliant.”

Grix will be able to call on his older brother Scott, who has joined Halifax on loan from Super League neighbours Huddersfield, while Kear recalls Jake Webster, Dalton Grant and Rowan Milnes who were all scorers in the Bulls’ sensational 24-22 sixth-round win over Leeds.