HE can take the ‘Grandad’ jibes fine, but Wakefield Trinity’s players certainly now know not to joke about certain other things around Scott Grix.
Ahead of tomorrow’s hugely significant game against St Helens, the full-back revealed he and team-mate Liam Finn – both 33 – are regularly given that moniker by some of their mischievous younger colleagues at Belle Vue.
It is something Grix, the Ireland international back for a second spell at Trinity this season, easily takes in his stride.
After all, his years of experience was one of the main reasons head coach Chris Chester re-signed him from Huddersfield Giants and it has proved an astute decision.
Wakefield are on course for their best campaign in the summer era and headed into this final regular round in the lofty position of fourth.
Victory tomorrow would confirm that and give them an extra home game in the Super 8s which could prove so useful if they are to continue the “dream” and actually push on for a top-four place at the end – just 80 minutes from a maiden Grand Final.
Grix firmly believes the squad – such a surprise package in 2017 – has the potential to do that especially now they have seen his reaction when they wasted their last chance at silverware.
It was barely five weeks ago that they lost 30-6 in a Challenge Cup quarter-final at Salford, badly beaten in all areas during a massively disappointing display.
Simmering Grix was furious afterwards and, though tomorrow’s important game is clearly not as consequential, he has reminded everyone of how limited the chances of tangible success truly are in professional sport.
“I’ve discussed with the lads about how the quarter-final and opportunities like that don’t come around too often,” he said, the only trophy he has won so far being the 2013 League Leaders’ Shield while at Huddersfield.
What an opportunity we’ve got this year. If you’re lucky to have 10 years in Super League then that’s 20 opportunities to win a trophy but it runs out pretty quickly, doesn’t it?Scott Grix
“I’m speaking as an older player in the group and they might have loads more chances left.
“But mine are running out, so I’m expecting them to be annoyed when that happens…
“What an opportunity we’ve got this year. If you’re lucky to have 10 years in Super League then that’s 20 opportunities to win a trophy but it runs out pretty quickly, doesn’t it?
“I wanted the young kids to know they felt bad when we lost (at Salford) because they don’t come around very often.”
He does, though, believe the squad are constantly learning lessons.
“Around the time of the quarter-final we’d won a lot of games,” he said, seven successive until a narrow loss against Leeds.
“I guess you’re always going to dip at one point, but the timing was just horrendous.
“It was our worst performance for a while and it happened to be in the biggest game of the year so far, so that was disappointing.
“But we’re better for that I think. Getting in the top-eight (last season) and not tasting what it was about, the lads are looking forward to what comes up next for us.”
Asked whether they can upset the odds and go win a Grand Final – they are 50-1 with only eighth-placed Huddersfield a bigger outsider at 66-1 – the Halifax-born player’s response is emphatic.
Grix said; “Why not? Why can’t we? We’re starting to believe a little bit. I’d be lying if I said I thought this was going to happen but why not dream?
“We’ll put the cat among the pigeons as we’re enjoying ourselves – let’s see what happens.”
If they defeat Saints, they will be five points in front of the six-time Super League champions entering the Super 8s, a healthy advantage over one of their biggest rivals for a semi-final spot.
But Grix warned: “Saints look good; this is almost a Super 8s game already for both. I’m expecting a tough game which I love.
“Points are huge to give us a shot of that top-four come the end of the 8s and we’ll be ready for this weekend. Rather than playing in a dead-rubber, it’s all on for us: and I like that.”