Prop George Griffin backs Castleford Tigers to make fans proud in 2021
Front-rower George Griffin reckons Castleford Tigers have got what it takes to win silverware this year.
Since Daryl Powell was appointed coach in 2013, Tigers have gone from relegation candidates to title contenders, but have yet to win at major final.
Griffin admitted that must be frustrating for the club and its fans, but feels - despite a poor 2020 - the building blocks are in place for success this season.
“It is only my second year at Cas, but they have had a quality team for a few years now and haven’t got the cherry on the cake,” said the 28-year-old forward.
“That’s something I think we can achieve.”
With two full weeks of pre-season completed, Griffin believes the signs so far are encouraging.
“We obviously didn’t finish last season as well as we wanted to, but everyone has come with a good head this year,” he observed.
“I have noticed everyone seems really happy to be there [at training] and we’re all cracking on.
“It’s hard work, but everyone’s doing it with a smile on their face and has really bought into what we are trying to achieve.”
Proving last year’s post-lockdown slump, when they tumbled from second to eighth in Super League, was just a blip will give Castleford added motivation, according to Griffin.
He recalled: “We were flying at the start, but there’s no excuses whatsoever for the way we played.
“We had a few injuries here and there, then Covid would knock us back and we were trying to make a team, but we still thought we had a good enough team on the day to beat teams.
“We just weren’t performing and I think that has motivated us more this year because we know we have got it in us and it’s just [a case of] putting it on the field.
“If we can have a good pre-season, like we did last year and get off to a good start, hopefully we’ll kick on from there.
“You look at our team on paper and ask yourself why weren’t we in and around it last year, but you have got to put performances in.”
Griffin joined Tigers from Salford ahead of last season on a two-year deal, so has even more incentive to play well week-in and week-out.
“I have got another year, but it [the option] is in the club’s favour at the minute so I have still got to earn it,” he said of his contract situation.
“I am just trying to have a good pre-season and get into the team and then hopefully get a starting spot if I do that, keep it and hopefully let my performances speak for themselves and get that third year.”
Oxford-born Griffin is younger brother of ex-Leeds Rhinos prop Darrell Griffin and Hull front-rower Josh Griffin.
He had spells at Hull KR and London Broncos - as well as on loan with Wakefield Trinity Wildcats - before five seasons as a Salford player, but insists he feels at home at Castleford.
He said: “Things weren’t happening on the field as well as we’d have liked last year, but the cohesion in the team was quality.
“We’ve got a good group of boys and coaches; it is just a shame we didn’t put that on to the field, but I have never looked back on my decision [to join Cas].
“I am happy here and trying to get that third year and possibly more.”