'I feel like I'm flying' - Castleford Tigers stalwart Grant Millington not ready to call it quits

Castleford Tigers' veteran forward Grant Millington has refused to rule out playing on beyond this season.

Wednesday, 17th February 2021, 4:45 pm
Grant Millington scores for Tigers against Salford last season. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

The 34-year-old Australian, who joined Tigers from Canterbury Bulldogs at the end of 2011, signed a new one-year contract last October.

Hailed by many at the club as Tigers’ finest overseas recruit, Millington reckons the club could be on the verge of repeating their form of 2017 when they finished 10 points clear at the top of Betfred Super League.

“It is hard to tell yet,” Millington said of whether this will be his final season.

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Grant Millington. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

“We are getting close to that point in my career.

"At the moment I’d be lying if I said we haven’t thought about it, but we’re not quite at the point where we’ve made a decision yet.”

Millington stressed: “I have always been told you know it’s time to retire when you feel like you can’t do a pre-season any more, but at the moment I feel like I am flying.

"I have not missed a session in pre-season, I have been working hard and it has all been feeling really good.”

Tigers had a poor season last year, slumping from second before lockdown to eighth on the league table.

“We showed at the last season the potential we’ve got in the squad,” Millington said.

“Obviously it was disappointing the way we fell away towards the back end, but every year if you ask us how we’re feeling at about this time in pre-season, you pretty much get the same answer that we’re feeling great, pushing for a top-four spot and hoping to win some silverware.

“But for me, this year feels a little bit different.

"Every session we are going into there’s a bit of a buzz, there’s confidence in what we’ve got around us and it feels we’ve got that bit of extra spark about us.

"We hate to mention it all the time, but it’s feeling very similar to the 2017 season.”

As an example, Millington said so many players have been arriving early for training, to do extra work, the conditioning staff have had to split them into small groups.

“So many people want to better themselves,” he stressed.

“There’s that real passion and drive that we want to achieve something this year.

"That’s the case every year, but it just seems that little bit more and I am excited about it.”

Tigers had a pre-Christmas camp and began training full-time in January.

Their campaign begins against Warrington Wolves at Leeds’ Emerald Headingley on Sunday, March 28 and Millington said: “It has felt like a pre-season back home.

“In Australia pre-seasons are quite long, you have four or five weeks leading into Christmas and then you go again until the start of the season - but you aren’t training in snow.

"It’s the opposite, you’re training at 7am otherwise it’s 40 degrees.

“But it has given us time to really break down our structures, go over them with a fine tooth comb and get things right from the start, so you’re not patching things up mid-season.

"Hopefully as we start to build up the tempo and the intensity coming into the start of the season, we are ready to go and we’ve got all the fine details down pat.”