Grix relishing second crack
Warrington Wolves forward Simon Grix believes the experience of losing their maiden Grand Final will stand them in good stead when they return to Old Trafford next Saturday.
The Wolves secured a second successive Grand Final appearance with a 30-22 semi-final win over Huddersfield Giants on Thursday night and, after losing out to Leeds 12 months ago, have re-set their sights on a first championship since 1955.
"It's great," said Grix, a two-try hero of their win over the table-topping Giants. "We had a taste of it last year and it didn't go to plan but we'll have another crack at it.
"It's like anything - if you've been there once, you've got the memory of it and the experience of what it's like there.
"Hopefully we'll be better for it."
The victory was an early birthday present for Grix, who turns 28 on Saturday, but there was little joy for older brother Scott, the Huddersfield full-back who was forced to pull out of the match with a groin injury.
His absence paved the way for 18-year-old Jake Connor to make only his second senior appearance, and Simon Grix admits Warrington sought to target the youngster.
"I was disappointed for Scott personally, that he missed out on a big game, but he's not in my team," he said. "He's been one of the better players for them and it probably worked to our advantage that he wasn't there.
"(Connor) did pretty well. It was a big game for him to come into. You have to play to your strengths and their weaknesses. We did put the ball up a few times to test him out but I think he did okay."
Grix has missed only one of the Wolves' 29 Super League matches this year and has demonstrated his utility value by appearing at centre and scrum-half as well as in his normal back-row position.
He was in his favoured loose-forward slot in last year's 26-18 defeat by the Rhinos in the Grand Final and played second row on Thursday night but must now wait to discover his role at Old Trafford, especially if Australian back rower Trent Waterhouse is recalled after missing the semi-final with a slight hamstring injury.
Grix accepts he is a victim of his versatility but insists he is happy to put the team before any self-interest.
"Anywhere in the back row is where I prefer to be," he said. "I've said time and time again I'd like to play 13.
"But I accept my role in the team. If something happens, more often than not it's me that moves but you just have to get on with it and do the best you can for the team."
The long-serving Halifax-born player was desperately unlucky to miss out on Warrington's Challenge Cup triumphs at Wembley in 2009, 2010 and 2012 but denies that gives him any extra motivation to win at Old Trafford.
"That's gone - it's a new year now," he said. "I wouldn't think I was any hungrier than anyone else to get to a Grand Final and win a Grand Final."
Grix does concede, however, that the team have a burning desire to send popular captain Adrian Morley out on a high.
Morley, who is ending his seven-year stay in order to have a final fling with home-town club Salford City Reds in 2014, and fellow front rower Garreth Carvell, who is moving to Bradford Bulls, both bid a fond farewell to the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Thursday night and are hoping to end their Warrington careers with Super League rings.
Grix added: "There is some of that but it's a personal goal of every league player to get to a Grand Final and win one.
"We've given ourselves an opportunity to do that now. We'll put all our efforts into our prep for next week."