SCOTT Grix knows if it had not been for Wakefield Trinity Wildcats he would probably never have become a Super League player.
The valuable Huddersfield Giants full-back may now be firmly established as a first-teamer of some repute and former World Cup captain of Ireland, no less.
However, it was a different story entirely when their West Yorkshire rivals first offered him a contract at the end of 2007.
Despite still being aged only 23, Wakefield was already his seventh professional club following a nomadic career that had taken in the likes of hometown Halifax, Leigh, Widnes and even a spell in France with Limoux.
As a teenager, Grix had also gone out on an extended loan at Doncaster when Halifax were actually in Super League in 2003 but – after years of shining in the Championship – he would finally get an opportunity to prove he could perform at the elite level.
“It was a big time for me,” he told the Yorkshire Post, ahead of tomorrow’s return there with early leaders Huddersfield.
“Wakefield was my first Super League club and I have so many good memories of it.
“They gave me my first real shot and I did feel like it was make-or break for me back then.
“John Kear was coach at that point and I enjoyed every minute of playing under him.
“Belle Vue is one of those last remaining grounds as well that is properly old-fashioned with the fans right on top of you,” explained Grix.
“The way the game is going you have to have stadiums now like the John Smith’s at Huddersfield – new, all-seater types – so I’m looking forward to going back to Wakefield and all its character and experiencing that atmosphere again.”
In 2009, the second of two seminal seasons for him at Trinity, Grix helped Kear’s motley crew of players to their best Super League finish of fifth.
“That year was brilliant,” he recalled, memorable victories coming over Wigan, St Helens, Bradford and a notable double against that year’s Challenge Cup winners Warrington.
“We had a backs-against-the-wall mentality all season as a club and Wakefield has been like that for a while.
“That’s why they are a tough team to play against; they have a lot of people trying to prove a point and I was one of them back then.
“A lot are now playing with me at Huddersfield while many have gone the other way too.”
Indeed, there is a very healthy relationship when it comes to transfer business between the two neighbouring rivals.
Such is the rate, in fact, that five of his Huddersfield colleagues this term – Danny Brough, Luke George, Aaron Murphy, Brett Ferres and Dale Ferguson – played with him at Trinity.
The influential Grix amassed 20 tries in 46 games with Wakefield to earn a move to ambitious Huddersfield but equally their hosts today have also seen Andy Raleigh, Kyle Wood and Danny Kirmond all go the other way.
“Wakefield came up with a nice Harlem Shake after their London game last week,” said Grix, referring to the crazy convulsive dance action that has swept the internet this month and been re-enacted by numerous rugby league sides.
“So, they’ll be confident going into this game against us after picking up back-to-back wins over Hull KR and the Broncos.
“Ben Cockayne is in some real try-scoring form and guys like Andy Raleigh, who came from us, will be up for this.
“Danny Kirmond, as captain, is coming up with some big plays now for them too.
“It’ll be interesting to see how he goes and he’ll definitely be wanting to get one over Huddersfield, but we’ll be ready.
“If we can play like we have – and that’s the key – we can get two points there.”
It may only be round four but Huddersfield are the only remaining side with a 100 per cent record so far in Super League following an excellent start which includes a historic win at St Helens, a similar rout of London and last week’s hard-fought encounter with Wigan Warriors.
Huddersfield, of course, have form for starting fast and then self-imploding under previous coach Nathan Brown.
But Grix – who has established himself at full-back now after years of flitting between loose forward, half-back, anywhere across the three-quarters and No 1 – has every confidence they can remedy that ill this season with Paul Anderson.
“It’s not just Baloo (Anderson),” counters the 28-year-old, who is just two tries away from reaching his career ton.
“We are a new team with a new staff and we’re making things for ourselves now.
“The past doesn’t mean anything for us. I’m pretty sure we’ll get asked by the media a lot about what’s going to be different (in 2013) but we’re really happy with the start.
“We understand, though, those three games are now gone and we have to start again at Wakefield who have had two good wins and will be looking for a third themselves against us.”