Written by Callum Walker
Arguably Castleford’s greatest overseas signings in the Super League era, Grant Millington is out of contract at the end of the season, and, being 33 years of age, there are question marks over whether or not he will be awarded another. Yet, there really should be no reason as to why the Aussie should not be handed a new deal.
After joining Castleford ahead of the 2012 season, Millington took a while to settle in at the Jungle – though he did make 22 appearances in his first season at the club. It was Daryl Powell’s appointment in May 2013 that seemed to kickstart both the Australian and the Tigers into gear.
From the 2014 season onwards, Millington became the ultimate fans’ favourite, impressing with his ability to put his body on the line no matter what, but also for his Rugby League brain. In fact, during a great injury crisis in 2016, the imposing forward played three games at halfback, looking far from out of place and steering the Tigers to a stunning Challenge Cup victory over Salford.
Taking part in Castleford’s greatest ever top flights season in 2017, Millington went from strength to strength, epitomizing the true professional off and on the field.
28 tries in 214 appearances spanning a period of eight years is remarkable going for a player that stated he was only going to stick around for a few seasons before going back home to Australia.
The pull of the Jungle and the life Millington and his family have created on British shores suggests that the Aussie may well stay once his Rugby League career is over in some kind of coaching capacity, but the forward certainly deserves another contract in the meantime.
Of course, with the current pandemic putting a halt to contract and recruitment – with a few exceptions – plans for a while, those such as Millington who are out of contract are facing an uncertain future.
But, Castleford are a different side with the Aussie playing. An enforcer in defence, a great communicator and a tremendously skillful player for his size, Millington brings an extra dimension to the Tigers’ team. And, though he appeared injured and slower in 2019, the forward looked back to his best at the start of 2020.
With his current form, a testimonial could well be within reach – he would need just two more seasons to achieve that – and there would rarely be someone as deserving.