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Smith: Simon Grix offers Warrington Wolves a versatility that few players can match
WHATEVER injury crisis Warrington Wolves may ever be suffering, Tony Smith can be confident that he has a player in Simon Grix that has the ability to fill almost any gap.
Wolves are set to be boosted by the impending return of David Solomona and Stefan Ratchford from long-term injuries, but while lynchpin Michael Monaghan remains on the sidelines it is a weight off Smith’s shoulders to know he has another experienced player who can step up to fill the gap behind Micky Higham, as the 26-year-old utility man did against Catalan on Sunday.
“You would be hard pressed to find many players in Super League that play as many roles as Simon does, as well as he does,” said Smith.
“There is no doubt that he is one of the most versatile players in the competition and we are grateful to have him.
“He has many attributes that help him play those multiple roles to the standard he does.
“Yes, you need to have intelligence to understand and recognise the differing requirements of each role, but he is very versatile in his skill set too.”
Former Halifax star Grix, who is set for another battle with brother Scott when Wolves face Huddersfield Giants in the Challenge Cup semi finals on July 24/25, has also figured at loose forward, in the second row in the halves and at centre this season.
But while Grix would be able to fill the hooker gap again in Wakefield on Sunday, it is likely that Smith will revert to the form that has seen him hand regular first team spots to up-and-coming number nine Brad Dwyer and 17-year-old second row Ben Currie in recent weeks.
Wakefield are not a team to be taken lightly despite their hit and miss form, as they showed when pushing Warrington to the limit in a 32-30 defeat at The Halliwell Jones Stadium in March.
They may have only won three games this season, but had it not been for Isaac John missing a late conversion attempt to level the scores with only a few minutes remaining, they would likely have returned from Warrington with a well-deserved point.
“Wakefield are pretty confident in their offence and they don’t make a lot of errors,” said Smith.
“They don’t give many penalties away and they can be a very tricky team on their day, so we have a lot of respect for them.
“It is a strong possibility that we will see the return of some of the younger players, but every young bloke who has played for us this year has done enough to show that they handle playing in Super League.
“What we have to have is some control in our play and some patience, which will hopefully mean that we can take our opportunities when they arise.”
Wakefield could be strengthened by the return of overseas forwards Steve Southern and Ali Lauitiiti, neither of whom have played since Good Friday due to injuries.