Castleford Tigers’ George Griffin can dent hopes of Hull KR – the club where he got his big break

CASTLEFORD Tigers prop George Griffin has Hull KR to thank for taking a “chance” on him almost a decade ago but now he is looking to put a massive dent in their play-off hopes.

Oxford-born Griffin was just 19, playing local rugby league as a winger for Queanbeyan Kangaroos near the Australian capital of Canberra and working as a removal man, when Rovers offered him a shot in 2012.

He grasped the opportunity and, after two years at KR, went on to feature with London Broncos before really making his mark with Salford Red Devils.

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Griffin has been a regular for Castleford since joining last season and, after playing at Wembley in July, knows they will secure a top-six place if they prosper in their penultimate regular round game at Hull College Craven Park tonight.

Looking back at his time at Rovers, he recalled: “I think they signed me on a bit of a chance.

“No one had really heard of me. I’d come over from a country team in Australia to play for them so they gave me a chance. I was under Craig Sandercock, got my first Super League game in my first year and the following year I managed to start the season.

“I was only a young lad so I was grateful for my opportunity there and for what they have given me to help progress my career since.”

Griffin learned his trade alongside established Australian stars such as Ben Galea, Blake Green, Michael Dobson and Travis Burns while future England internationals Josh Hodgson and Scott Taylor were also in the KR ranks.

BIG PUSH: Castleford Tigers' George Griffin stopped by Salford's James Greenwood and Lee Mossop. Picture: Tony Johnson

He said: “There were a fair few leaders in our team then and I learned a lot in a short space of time. It was a big wake-up call going from country league to Super League and playing with people like that.

“It was quite a shame that when I was there it didn’t really amount to anything given our team but there was some great players nonetheless.”

Tigers have won five of seven games since losing to St Helens in the Challenge Cup final, climbing from eighth to fifth.

Griffin, 29, added: “Now we’ve got the play-offs in our sights, it’s ours to lose. There’s some great teams around us so everyone’s fighting for sixth – or even fifth – so it’s play-off football already.”

THAT WAS THEN: George Griffin, in action for Hull KR back in 2013 as he is tackled by Hull FC's Paul Johnson (left) and Jay Pitts. Picture: Anna Gowthorpe/PA