Australian Grant Millington has become one of Castleford’s greatest Super League imports, with his barnstorming running style and robust defence proving to be a major hit with the Tigers’ faithful.
He joined the Tigers in 2012 from the Canterbury Bulldogs after one season there, following three seasons with the Cronulla Sharks, for whom he debuted in 2008.
“When I signed at Canterbury, although I knew I’d have to fight hard, I thought I’d be in with a shot of being in the 17 from the go,” he explains.
“A few weeks later they signed Frank Pritchard, who was one of the best backrowers in the league at that time, so opportunities were hard to come by that year.
“I was speaking to a few Super League clubs at the end of 2011 and landed at Castleford; while it was most definitely an eye-opener to begin with, I couldn’t be happier with how things have turned out.”
Next year Millington will be entering his tenth season at the Jungle, a statistic that the 34-year-old can barely believe.
“Unfortunately, I won’t be getting a testimonial, though one of the other lads has one already approved,” he says.
“But if you had told me when I first signed at Castleford that I would play ten seasons, I’d have laughed at you.
“The idea was that my wife and I would come and spend two years here, see the world, then head home and start the next chapter.
“Now we will return home with three kids and English passports. Crazy stuff!”
As versatility goes, Millington’s ability is practically second to none, being able to operate anywhere in the pack as well as, when needed, at halfback.
“I think halfback is more my natural position! Communication and an understanding of the way we play are two of my strengths,” he explains.
“You may not see me throw a double cut out pass to the winger, but I’d like to think I can at least get us into shape with the ball and defend well on the edge.
“There’s no real pressure on me to play like a traditional half and it’s always fun when you get to do something different.”
Millington will return to the southern hemisphere once he retires from the game in the UK.
“I’ll probably play a year or two in a local league,” he explains.
“The clubs have decent contacts and can help me find work, but the dream job would be to join the Fire Brigade.
“There would be something different every day and I imagine the work environment would be similar to playing rugby – very team-orientated with a bit of banter between jobs.
“I’d also like to be involved in the game as long as I can – whether that be playing, coaching a senior side or even my son Zach, I don’t mind, but it’s hard to see myself not being involved in some capacity.”
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