Hull FC’s Josh Griffin sets sights on Super League Grand Final glory after coming through ‘rough’ spell

AFTER missing the derby with coronavirus and being involved in a car crash on the morning of Hull FC’s epic play-off win at Warrington Wolves, Josh Griffin will be doing his utmost to encounter no drama ahead of his club’s surprise bid for a Grand Final spot.

It has certainly been an eventful time for the England hopeful both on and off the field.

Griffin, 30, was as instrumental as ever as Hull stunned Warrington 27-14 on Thursday to set up a semi-final at Wigan Warriors next week.

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However, the powerful centre posted a picture on social media of his battered Land Rover Discovery just hours before kick-off.

“I’ve had a rough couple of weeks, to be fair,” Griffin told The Yorkshire Post.

“I tested positive for Covid two weeks ago, had to self-isolate for 10 days, came out, had a couple of days training and then had a crash in the car which I’d only had for two weeks.

“I’d not even driven it too much! I was just taking my son to the park – I always like to get out of the house on the morning of a game to get some fresh air – and on the way there an elderly couple pulled out on me.

“Luckily, nobody got hurt and the accident wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I managed to swerve so that reduced the impact a bit.

DIFFERENCE MAKER: Hull FC's Josh Griffin fends off Warrington's Blake Austin during Thursday's play-off clash. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

“My lad was fine. He was a little bit shook up after, more because of the big bang, I think. But he was all right, bless him.”

In-form Griffin was back in the side having pulled out late ahead of Hull’s previous victory over Hull KR due to Covid.

His younger brother George had been one of the players caught up in the outbreak at Castleford Tigers.

Griffin explained: “We thought I’d got it from George but that was just a coincidence.

MAGIC MOMENT: Hull FC's Jake Connor (centre) and his team-mates show their delight after scoring a late try in Thursday night's win over Warrington. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe

“I saw him on the Tuesday and I tested positive on the Wednesday so the doctors think it was too close to be him.

“They think I might have picked it up playing golf on the Sunday morning.”

With Hull standing just 80 minutes from a first Grand Final since 2006 – and also knowing it will be played on home turf at KCOM Stadium – everyone will be once more on tenterhooks ahead of Thursday’s contest with League Leaders winners Wigan.

Griffin conceded: “Nobody wants to be ruled out for that reason. Missing a semi for Covid or track and trace would be a real blow.

CENTRE OF ATTENTION: Hull FC's Josh Griffin is stopped in his tracks against Leeds Rhinos at Headingley last month. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

“Everyone will knuckle down this week, stick to those bubbles and we’re in lockdown anyway so, hopefully, everyone will be okay.”

He has reported no ill-effects from catching the virus himself.

“There was a 20-minute period in Thursday’s game where I did feel it in my lungs and I wasn’t breathing right but I managed to push through it,” added Griffin.

“I was alright. I didn’t have loads of symptoms; if I hadn’t been tested I probably wouldn’t have known I’d had it.

“It was a great game against Warrington.

“Obviously it’s been a rubbish year with everything going on and Thursday was one of those games where – even though there were no fans there – you knew it had that extra meaning to it. The intensity stepped up.”

It was also a fourth straight win for a resurgent Hull who finished sixth and only earned a place after the play-offs were hastily extended from the top-four.

However, they shocked third-placed Wolves with a brilliant display, Griffin taking to social media afterwards to post a humorous note about ‘only being invited to make the numbers up.’

He insisted: “It does feel a bit like that.

“I think people do think that. But we’re not thinking like that as a team. We want to take the charge on now and go all the way.

“Over the last few weeks we’ve really built up confidence. Lasty (interim head coach Andy Last) has managed to make his impact, getting us to play the way he wants us to, working hard for each other and it’s starting to show.

“We find Warrington are probably one of those teams that disrespect us a little bit, too, and they have stuck some big scores on us in the last couple of years. We had a bit of fire in our bellies to prove them wrong as well.

“Wigan are top of the league for a reason.

“They are tough and play some really good rugby. But we’re probably match-hardened now and we’re in a better place than we were a few weeks back when we lost to them in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals.”

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