Castleford Tigers Challenge Cup final reaction: Grant Millington set to make decision on future after Wembley defeat

Now Wembley is out of the way, long-serving Castleford Tigers forward Grant Millington is preparing to make a decision on his playing future.

Sunday, 18th July 2021, 5:00 pm
The pain of Wembley defeat shows on these Tigers fans' faces. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

The 34-year-old Australian is out of contract at the end of this season and has yet to confirm whether he will seek a new deal or hang up his boots and return home.

After just one warm-up game at the end of two months on the sidelines with a knee injury, Millington was in Tigers’ starting front-row when they lost 26-12 to St Helens in the Betfred Challenge Cup final two days ago.

Recovery and Wembley had dominated his thoughts, but speaking after the final Millington confirmed: “I’ll probably make the decision in the next few weeks and see how we go.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

He said: “Once I knew I had the injury building into this match, I put all my focus into that.

“Obviously I’ve still got to focus on winning games, but I also have to start sorting out my life off the pitch.

“If we do end up moving home it’s a big move and I’ve got to start getting sorted, so I’m sure I’ll make that decision in a couple of weeks.”

Millington - who missed out on Tigers’ previous Wembley appearance, in 2014, because of injury - is among a posse of players and staff who could be or are in their last year at Castleford.

“It’s just heartbreaking,” he said of Saturday’s result.

“It [winning the trophy] would have been the best finish possibLe for certain people, but it just wasn’t to be.

“That’s the hard bit for me; the reason we play is not only to win trophies, but because we’re pretty much a group of brothers and when we don’t get a job done and finish things we way we want to finish things for people, it is just really hard to take.

“Obviously, we will be hurting for a little while, I think.

“It’s not often these chances come around and when they slip through your fingers it hurts you.”

There is still the Super League title to play for and Millington added:

“Give the lads a couple of days, hopefully and we’ve got to come in and steel our minds.

“We have another trophy to push for, it will be some effort to pull together and get there, but we don’t have another choice.

“This group of lads isn’t going to give up easily, so we’ll get over this, come in, reassess and get ready to go again.”

After trailing 6-0 early on, Castleford fought back to lead 12-6 at half-time.

Saints took control in the second half, but did not make the game safe until the final 10 minutes.

Millington reflected: “They started pretty well , but we got ourselves back into the game.

“In the second half, we were chasing points and moving the ball around probably a little bit too much.”

Tigers left Wembley with one piece of silverware, Niall Evalds winning the Lance Todd trophy as man of the match, but the full-back admitted that was no consolation.

Evalds said: “All week we got the preparation spot on, but credit to Saints - they are a champion side and they proved it in the second half.

“It was hot conditions and a tough game, it was an arm wrestle, but they just got the better of us in the end.

“We are absolutely gutted, but we have got to regroup and make a push for the league now.”