Castleford Tigers and Wakefield Trinity making early plans for 2020

WITH A third of the current season still to be played, Castleford Tigers and Wakefield Trinity have both stepped up preparations for the 2020 Super League season.

Salford's George Griffin.

Castleford have continued their recruitment by signing George Griffin from Salford Red Devils on a two-year contract beginning next term.

And one of Griffin’s former clubs, Wakefield, have announced extended contracts for forwards Jordan Crowther and Tinirau Arona, as well as the departure of front-rower Craig Huby.

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Griffin began his Super League career at Hull KR in 2013 and also played for London Broncos and Wakefield before moving to Salford four years ago.

Currently on the Red Devils’ injury list, he said: “I had some interest from other clubs, but I thought this was the one for me.

“It’s closer to my family, which is what I wanted, but also because of the way Cas as a club is going for the future.

“It has come on leaps and bounds over the last 10 years and I reckon it’s only going to get better.”

Griffin, 27, added: “I know a few of the lads there who speak very highly of the place so I’m really looking forward to it.

“You can see from the outside there’s a real tight knit unit there.

“There’s some superstars at the club, but everybody just grafts hard and that’s what I want really.

“I want to come in, work hard and do my best for the team.”

Tigers have climbed to fourth in the table following their win over London two days ago.

“One of my goals is to win some silverware in my career,” stressed Griffin.

“They have struggled a bit at times this season with injuries in key positions and it’s really tight in the middle of the table, but I’m sure they can be right in the mix come the end of the year.”

Tigers coach Daryl Powell expects Griffin to bring steel and experience to Castleford’s pack.

“I have been an admirer of George’s game for a few years now,” said Powell.

“He is a tough, hard-working player who will add to an already very strong pack and help to improve certain areas of our team.

“His work rate and attitude are also first-class which are qualities you look for first in any player you recruit.”

Crowther, who was among Wakefield’s try scorers in their victory over Huddersfield Giants last week, has extended his contract until the end of 2021 while Arona will be at the club for at least one season after that.

Crowther, 22, said: “It has been like a breakthrough year for me and I’ve been really enjoying my rugby this season. I’m hoping that continues now.”

Arona suffered a season-ending knee injury in May, but the 30-year-old is excited about Trinity’s potential to win trophies over the next three years.

“We’re at a time when players want to stay here at Wakefield because they believe we have what it takes to be successful,” he said.

“I’ll do everything I can to lift a trophy before I leave Wakefield.”

Huby has departed Trinity by “mutual consent”.

The former Castleford and Huddersfield prop suffered a serious shoulder injury at the beginning of the season which has kept him sidelined ever since.

Huby said: “I’ve really enjoyed my time at Wakefield over the last few years.

“There’s a real good team spirit and feel good factor about the club.

“I’d like to thank the supporters who have been great since I joined the club.

“I’m backing the lads to finish the season well and get in that top five.”

Meanwhile, Leeds Rhinos forward Steve Ward’s hopes of being back on the field this month have been shattered.

Ward has not played since suffering a knee injury in February. He has been due to return in Friday’s derby at Castleford, but will instead undergo a second operation today.

Leeds’s new signing from Canterbury Bulldogs, Rhyse Martin, is due to arrive in this country tomorrow, along with fellow forward Ava Seumanufagai who has been in New Zealand on compassionate leave.