Castleford Tigers v St Helens: Grant Millington's 'relief' at Challenge Cup final green light
Veteran forward Grant Millington admits it was a “relief” when he was passed fit for today’s Betfred Challenge Cup final against St Helens.
Millington missed Castleford Tigers’ previous trip to Wembley, in 2014 and feared that might happen again when he suffered an identical knee injury in the quarter-final win over Salford Red Devils two months ago.
His only chance to prove his fitness came against the same opposition in Super League six days ago, when he scored the opening try and got through unscathed, mentally and physically.
“I didn’t think about the knee at all, which is a good sign,” the 34-year-old Australian said.
“I did a fair bit of work, loads of running, going into that match.
“I was going to play in the Huddersfield game before that, which was cancelled and an extra couple of days never hurts with an injury like that.
“In the match I didn’t feel it at all and to get through the match was a relief.”
Millington added: “To get through unscathed was awesome.
“When I got home, I sat on the couch and it started to sink in for me personally that the next game’s going to be the big one.
“From then on, it was just excitement building through the week.”
Individually and as a team, Tigers have had limited match practice over since the semi-final defeat of Warrington Wolves last month, but Millington is confident that won’t be an issue.
“The boys have worked really hard in the time they’ve had off,” he stressed.
“Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing that compares to a proper match for match fitness, but we’ve had a couple of tough sessions in there and physically I think we will be exactly where we need to be.
“Obviously it’s not the ideal way to come into a Cup final, but I don’t think that’s going to be a major problem for us.”
This is Millington’s 10th - and potentially last - season at Tigers and he admits a win today would be the highlight of his career.
“We’ve been there or thereabouts for a few years now and it’s important we bring a trophy back to Cas,” he reflected.
“We have a big task ahead of us, but I think we have got enough to get the job done.”
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