Gutted for Hull FC’s Josh Griffin after ‘blameless’ Challenge Cup semi-final incident - Luke Gale’s View from the Pitch

HAVING DONE it myself, I know exactly what Josh Griffin is going through after he snapped his Achilles in Hull’s Challenge Cup semi-final against Saints.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 6:05 am
Hull FC's Josh Griffin is helped from the pitch after snapping his Achilles tendon during last Saturday's Challenge Cup semi-final against St Helens. Picture: Allan McKenzie/

There’s been a fair bit of controversy over the incident, because it led to St Helens scoring, after Josh dropped the ball and Theo Fages picked up and went over for a try.

I’ve seen some people blaming Josh for not holding on to the ball and others saying Theo must have known it was a bad injury and he shouldn’t have played on.

I don’t think it was anybody’s fault; it was just one of those things that happens sometimes.

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Leeds Rhinos' Alex Mellor was penalised recently for fumbling a play-the-ball while struggling to get to his feet because of cramp. Picture: Alex Whitehead/

As for Josh not hanging on to possession, when you get an injury like that you are not thinking about holding on to the ball, or anything like that.

It is a terrible injury and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

My main concern is for Josh. When I ruptured my Achilles it was in a running drill; I wasn’t actually playing.

I’ve turned a corner and gone to go again and it has snapped. I’ve no idea what I’d have done if I’d had a ball in my hand at the time, but I doubt I’d have been thinking about that.

Josh did what I am sure 99 per cent of other players would have done.

He has reacted and immediately gone to hold his leg.

In every game you see players trying to battle on when they’ve been hurt, like the Joe Westerman one a couple of seasons ago when his knee popped out and he knocked it back in.

This is different; a snapped Achilles is one of those injuries where it’s obvious right from the start you are in serious trouble.

It’s the shock that gets you; you can break an arm and not realise you’ve done it but ,when your Achilles goes, you can almost feel the tendon come away from the bone.

Also, you - and people nearby - can usually hear it. There actually is a loud snapping noise.

It is a massive shock and, for a while, you’re not really sure what’s going on. The one thing I can remember really clearly is Jesse Sene-Lefao at the end of my legs, praying!

Another thing I’d like to say is Fages hasn’t done anything wrong. He has played to the whistle, which is what you are told to do from the first time you step on to a rugby field.

He didn’t have time to look at what Josh Griffin has done and make a medical assessment, he just played to the whistle.

There maybe needs to be more allowance for the referee to use his discretion.

Match officials are very good with head knocks now and stop play if there’s any doubt, but it’s not the same with other injuries. In our game, physios can come on and treat players while play is going on and I think that has a bearing on what refs do.

You can imagine what the reaction from Saints would have been if he had stopped the game before the try was scored and it turned out Griffin wasn’t badly hurt.

A few weeks ago, we had a case where Alex Mellor was penalised for trying to play the ball when he had cramp.

Things that happen in a game aren’t always cut and dried, there are grey areas and I would like to see common sense - and rugby sense - applied in those situations.

It is one of those incidents that will be talked about for a long time, but I don’t think it affected the outcome of the game.

There was still time for Hull to turn it around after that, but it is really unfortunate for Josh.

He was in great form, he looked to be having probably his best season to date and it is gutting for him because his World Cup chances for this year are gone and I thought he had a good chance of getting in the England squad.

I thought Castleford were great in their win over Warrington in the other semi-final.

I spoke to a couple of the boys afterwards and messaged the coach Daryl Powell as well to say well done. Their game plan was outstanding and what a way to bounce back after their big loss to us.

They must have had a tough week, but they got it right on the day and massive credit to them.

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