Tigers boost pack with double signing

Grant Millington, in action for Canterbury in Australia.
Grant Millington, in action for Canterbury in Australia.

CASTLEFORD Tigers have confirmed the signings of forwards Grant Millington, from Canterbury Bulldogs, and Lee Mitchell from Warrington Wolves.

Former Cronulla prop Millington, 25, has signed a permanent two-year contract while 23-year-old back row Mitchell joins on a one-year loan deal with a view to potentially signing on a permanent basis for 2013 should both clubs agree at the end of 2012.

At six foot, four, Australian Millington will add size to the Tigers ranks and will add competition for places in the Cas front row.

Head coach Ian Millward is delighted to add him to the Tigers’ ranks.

He said: “Grant likes to charge the ball in and tackle aggressively, he’s tough but he does have some skill, he has a pass to his game and an offload as well.

“He brings variation to our attacking game up front and he comes highly recommended by Ricky Stuart, his former coach at Cronulla, and also Trent Barrett who played with him there.

“They both said he has good knowledge of the game and they look upon him long term as a future leader with his understanding and input.

“They are all qualities that I was looking for especially with a lot of young forwards at the club. He has experience but at 25 you’d like to think he has his best years in front of him too.

“He had a contract with the Canterbury Bulldogs for 2012, but he had a shoulder reconstruction during the year and because of that he missed a lot of games last season. That opened his eyes, he’s always wanted to play over here in England and he asked for a release from the Bulldogs to join us.

“It is more than likely he will miss the first couple of games, but I’m looking at the bigger picture with him. He played in all but one game for Cronulla in 2010 and we’ve covered every base with his medical; he’s well on his way to a full recovery.

“Hopefully we’ll be playing over 30 games next year and him missing the first couple shouldn’t be the main issue, it’s all about having him for the rest of the season and I’m confident he’ll be a good signing for us. “

On the signing of Mitchell, a player he has previously coached on dual contract last season at Leigh Centurions, Millward said:

“Such is the quality and depth of the Warrington squad; it is definitely in Lee’s interests to continue to improve his game by playing for us.

“He is ready for the rigours of Super League week-in-week-out and is an extremely talented English back row. He comes with height and has lots of mobility, plenty of skill and a fantastic attitude.

“He spent a short period with me at Leigh last year and that is where my association with him started. There’s mutual respect and I’m delighted to be able to bring him to Castleford.

“He also spent time on loan at Harlequins last year, impressed there and has put in good performances whenever given opportunities in the first team at Warrington.

“He adds depth to our squad and he’s hungry to play. Although not guaranteed a spot, he’ll get opportunities here with us next year.

“Smithy (Warrington coach Tony Smith) and I both rate Lee highly. He will train full time with us throughout the season and has already looked hungry in training so far.”

Mitchell is looking forward to getting stuck in for Cas.

He said: “This opportunity offers me the chance to gain more Super League game time on a regular basis. I get to work with Ian Millward again having already worked with him at Leigh.

“Castleford got to the Challenge Cup semi-final and were unlucky not to make the play-offs last year. They have a number of good players, new staff working there and are looking at stadium development in the near future showing they are a club and team looking to move forward.”

Mitchell and Millington are the Tigers’ third and fourth recruits for 2012 with winger/centre Josh Griffin (Huddersfield) and prop Steve Nash (Leigh) both having signed last month.