NEW Australian recruit Grant Millington could be ready to make his Castleford debut earlier than expected.
The 25-year-old former Canterbury forward is recovering from a shoulder reconstruction, but has gone straight into training on his arrival in England and is confident he is well on the way to a full recovery.
While no specific date has been put on when he will play his first game, Millington believes his injury is already showing encouraging signs of improvement in his early work with Tigers physio Ben Stirling and he is itching to get back on the pitch to show fans what he can do.
He told the Express: “Training is going well. I’ve come over with a shoulder injury so I’m not doing everything at the moment, but I’m working hard with the physio, Ben, and the shoulder’s really kicked along in the last few days.
“I’m really happy with how that’s going and hopefully I can get back into playing a bit before I thought I would before I came over.
“I hurt my shoulder playing the Newcastle Knights in the second last round of last year and they got me in for a reconstruction pretty much straight away.
“But the way they’re treating it over here compared to in Australia is a bit different. Over there it was a bit more of a softly, softly approach, but here we’re going a bit more aggressive with it and it’s going well.
“There’s no timescale yet on when I’ll be playing. It’s a little bit of a wait and see to cope with the treatment I’ve had, but there has been quite a bit of improvement and I think I will be back faster than I thought.”
Millington met his new team-mates for the first time last weekend and after receiving a warm welcome he is relishing the challenge ahead to try to make an impression and follow in the footsteps of previous successful Australian imports at the club.
It means some big changes for the highly thought of forward, beginning with getting used to the distinctly colder weather.
He said: “I’m glad to finally be over here. It took a little bit of time, but it’s good to finally get stuck in with the boys.
“It’s a bit colder than at home and a bit different to what I’m used to. At home they said it was the coldest start to a summer in 50 years and it was 20 degrees!
“But I’m getting used it and learning that layering is the key to staying warm.
“I really like it so far. All the people here are great and when you’ve got this it’s good to come in every time. I’m sure once I get to know people more it’s going to get even better.
“I’ve been pretty much straight into training and we’re doing long days so I haven’t had a chance to see a lot of the area yet, but I had a drive around on Sunday and there’s some nice little villages around.
“I’m actually looking for somewhere to live, but I like the countryside and it will suit me.
“I didn’t know much about the club and I’m learning as I go at the moment. I know there’s a fair bit of history and I’m really looking forward to learning more.
“I played against Rangi Chase and Nick Youngquest when I was younger, but I didn’t know them personally. But they’re all really good guys here, they’ve made me feel welcome and I’m really looking forward to getting know them more. I’m also looking forward to the challenge of coming over here with my fiancée and living in a totally different place and playing in a different country.
“I’m going to be playing against people I don’t know too much about so I’m going to have to do my homework.
“I’m expecting it to be a little bit different, but not too much. I think the main difference between the NRL and the Super League will be the amount of wrestle in the ruck and the speed of the ruck. In Australia they’ve got two referees policing the ruck to try to make it quicker than it was.”
Millington set out his main aims for the season ahead: “My goal I set before I came over was to get into the team, get onto the pitch and get playing some good footy again after some major surgery. I want to be consistent. For the team I saw we only just missed the play-offs last year so that’s a big goal to make sure we reach them next year. From there as anyone knows anything can happen.
“I’ve always played a mixture of front row or back row, but I’m happy to play anywhere and I don’t really have a favourite. I think I’m going to be playing front row here and I’m looking forward to it.
“It doesn’t really bother me where I play, I just like to be out on the field contributing to the team.”
While much of the English game is still fresh to Castleford’s new boy, he has already been filled in about the rivalries in the game over here and is excited at the prospect of sampling the famous Cas atmosphere for himself.
“I’ve been told there’s a good rivalry with Wakey,” said Millington.
“We’ve got them in a friendly and I’m sure I’ll be out on the sideline soaking in the atmosphere for when it comes around to actual Super League matches.
“The local derby games will be interesting and I just hope I get to play in them during the season.
“The boys have been saying that compared to the NRL the crowds are not as big, but they are a lot more vocal. That’s something I’m looking forward to sampling for myself.”