Josh Griffin has paid tribute to Leeds Carnegie head coach Diccon Edwards for his show of faith so far in 2012-13.
The dual-code centre’s transition from league to union has been relatively seamless with Edwards a big reason for that, according to the 22-year-old, who could not be happier with his conversion.
The former Castleford Tigers star, whose elder sibling Darrell plays for Leeds Rhinos and younger brother George is at Hull KR, has impressed all and sundry thus far with his performances in the Carnegie three-quarter-line with the backs input from Edwards having reaped dividends in his game.
Griffin, who has not looked back after being handed an earlier than expected debut in the 32-19 Championship home win over Jersey on September 7 – when he scored a try – said: “I think Diccon has stuck by me. He has given me the opportunity and let me see it out.
“I thought it would have taken me longer to make my debut, while I also did not want to get thrown in the deep end and then get pulled out again.
“I have managed to play week in and week out and the only real time I was missing was when I had my tonsils out around the B and I (British and Irish) Cup games. Other than that, Diccon has stuck by me and I feel I am getting better every week.
“There are things that do take getting used to, probably mainly around the ruck area. Playing in rugby league, I have always been used to playing the ball as quickly as I can when I get taken to the floor. With union, they try and stay up a bit and that takes some getting used to.
“But there’s a lot of basic skills you can transfer. But thankfully, I have had some one to one coaching with Diccon and Dave (Baldwin – forwards coach) and that is helping me out as well.”
Carnegie’s first-team squad, minus a few exceptions, cool their heels this weekend ahead of returning to action next Saturday for what promises to be a mouth-watering White Rose derby against Rotherham Titans at Clifton Park where Leeds will be chasing their third straight Championship win. In an ideal world, Griffin admits that he and his team-mates would be in action instead of putting their feet up with plenty of momentum having been generated courtesy of back-toback wins over Moseley and London Scottish.
Both games yielded bonus-point wins with Carnegie’s back line of Griffin, fellow centre Fred Burdon and wingmen Oli Goss and Dave Doherty – not to mention talented full-back Stevie McColl – showing plenty of panache and penetration in the process in both matches.
The displays have whetted the appetite of Edwards, his coaching staff and Carnegie fans, who will have to wait just over seven days for hopefully more evidence of the side’s renaissance. Griffin added: “I think we would have all liked to have carried on playing. Definitely.
“We had built some momentum with our first away win and then backed it up in our home match at Wharfedale.
“Getting the draw at Cornish Pirates, which was always going to be a tough game, was important, although we could have actually won that game as we bombed a lot of chances.
“To be honest, with the games we have lost this year, we have thrown them away. It was only really the game against Newcastle where we were outplayed.
“One of the problems has been that we haven’t been able to put the same team out each week and at the start of the season, we were chopping and changing a bit. But recently, we have been getting a similar teams out and that is helping a little bit.
“Finally, we have found a backline here, I think. It’s a very attacking one and there’s a lot of speed on the edges and power on the inside.
“When we are holding the ball, we are running well and matching trams physically and a lot of what we are doing is coming off the good work of the forwards as well.”
Two Carnegie players – Jacob Rowan and Calum Green – will be in action tomorrow representing a Championship XV in a clash against the Maori All Blacks at Doncaster Knights’ Castle Park base (12.05pm) –with Edwards one of the assistant coaches.