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IT'S MY VIEW: Grix and Laithwaite stake their claim
WATCH your backs Ben Westwood and Trent Waterhouse!
Because judging by Super League round five, the experienced internationals have serious competition for their places.
Simon Grix and James Laithwaite were running on to passes like exocet missiles against Salford and I loved it.
There was an interesting symmetry to the way they were causing disruption on both sides of the field, and there were no half measures from them in defence either.
It was like watching two versions of 1980s second-row star Mark Roberts.
For Grix to be doing that in only his second game of the season – and for the full 80 minutes – was an extraordinary effort.
It makes me believe he has stepped up another gear this year and I’m looking forward to seeing what he has to offer for the rest of the campaign.
Of course, the 28-year-old from Halifax has been asked to perform in the centres, at half back, in all three back-row spots and even as cover at hooker over nine seasons in the first team.
He suits the back row best and prefers to be at 13 as his shirt number suggests, but if Tony Smith wants his loose forward to be playing like an extra prop – as Ben Westwood did at Salford and for spells against London and Hull – then we may get to see more of him in the second row.
Laithwaite, aged 23, has been on the fringe for some time, developing his trade in the past with the under 20s (before they became under 19s), on dual registration with Leigh Centurions, Swinton Lions and on loan at Hull Kingston Rovers.
The former Penketh High School and Priestley College student, who started out with Crosfields, had four runs with the first team last year after returning from a broken ankle but was unable to make the kind of impact that he has on his last two outings.
Smith said it was Laithwaite’s best game for the club against London Broncos and that he had surpassed that performance against Salford.
With World Cup internationals Ben Currie (Ireland) and Ben Evans (Wales) stepping up this year, too, Smith’s selection dilemmas are growing and that can only be good for the team.
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