AFTER years of watching his younger brother challenging for honours, Huddersfield Giants full-back Scott Grix is adamant he will soon start enjoying his own sporting highs.
While Simon has achieved plenty of admiration in Warrington Wolves colours, featuring as they won the League Leaders’ Shield in 2011 and reached last season’s Grand Final, it has been a different story for his sibling.
He spent much of the early part of his career battling to prove his pedigree in the lower divisions but has since matured into a leading role in a Huddersfield side set to finish top for the first time since 1932 and will also captain Ireland at the forthcoming World Cup.
If Huddersfield secure a 21st league win of the season against Wakefield Trinity Wildcats tomorrow night, they will be presented with the League Leaders’ Shield and begin a voyage towards a maiden Grand Final from the perfect starting point.
“I’ve played at a lot of clubs and feel like I’ve built my way up to this level so now we’re in a position to win something I’d absolutely love it,” Grix told the Yorkshire Post.
“My brother has been involved in some big games with Warrington but you tend to look away when you’ve been knocked out of the play-offs.
“Last year, though, I went to that Grand Final to watch them and, yes, I did think about it and how awesome it’d be to play in one.
“It’s a million miles away at the moment but we’ll just have to play well and see how we go.
“He doesn’t wind me up or anything. I’ve been delighted for him the stuff he’s done career-wise and I’m sure he would be the same with me... unless we played each other in that one that matters!
“They’ve annihilated us a couple of times this year but he wasn’t one to rub it in. I’d definitely like to get one over him. They are a quality team and we might meet at some stage so we’ll have to see.”
Although some critics ridicule the League Leaders’ Shield, labelling it nothing more than a glorified wheelhub as only victory at Old Trafford defines the actual champions, given Huddersfield have not won a title in 51 years, they will rightly celebrate if they secure it.
“It goes on the board,” insisted Grix. “When we’ve finished third and fifth and not actually been in a position to win it, you don’t actually really tend to think about it.
“You can look at it both ways – a lot will say it doesn’t mean anything and you have to do it in the play-offs which is correct.
“But a lot of people who haven’t been in that position to win it will be saying that.
“Now we can, we want it. It’s a trophy so we’ve got to go for it.”
Of course, he is not under-estimating the challenge of Wakefield who, despite being unable to break into the play-offs, remain a side laden with potential game-breakers like Tim Smith, Ali Lauitiiti and Dean Collis.
Halifax-born Grix joined them from Widnes in 2008 and had two successful years there before being recruited by Huddersfield.
“They were my first Super League club so just to secure a first involvement in that environment was brilliant,” he recalled.
“I’ve still got a few mates over there and regardless of where they are they are a quality team.
“Wakefield are probably a bit more dangerous now because they have done for the year.
“They’ll try spoil the party so it’ll be tough and with a big crowd and a TV game they’ll be wanting it.”
Huddersfield have shown added resilience this season and managed to avoid any of the traditional dodgy spells which have historically ruined previous campaigns.
Grix, 29, continued: “Potentially over the last couple of years we’ve been pushing for this but, for different reasons, we’ve let it go.
“We’ve lost a few but this time we’ve managed to back up after those defeats and it has really filled us with confidence.
“Now we’ve got to a stage of the year where we can do something good and be up there with the big teams, it strives you on. Everyone is really excited about the finish.”
Prior to watching Warrington lose to Leeds Rhinos last October, his only previous experience of Super League’s big night was as a junior player with his Halifax amateur club Siddal at the inaugural showpiece of 1998 – with current Huddersfield team-mate Luke Robinson alongside him.
“I went to Wigan v Leeds when Jason Robinson scored that try as he scooted infield, ducked and went in between the posts,” he recalled. “Robbo was with me, too, at that one. As a kid (at Siddal) I was pretty much full-back all the way through and he was six just as it is now. It’d be lovely to go back there together for Huddersfield.
“Robbo’s played in a Grand Final (with Wigan) but I remember the Challenge Cup final when Sheffield Eagles beat Wigan and Jonny Lawless taking his Sheffield shirt off and putting his Siddal shirt on with the cup.
“It’d be nice if we could do it, too. It’s good that we’re just playing together at the moment all these years later. It’s pretty unusual.
“It gets brought up now and again but you don’t really think about it; we’ve been playing together since Under-Eights or something. It’d be brilliant to win something together. But we know there’s plenty of work to do yet.”