Millward starts rebuilding Cas with 'size and pace' of Griffin

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The Independent Online

The new Castleford coach Ian Millward has made Huddersfield outside back Josh Griffin his first signing.

The 21-year-old Oxford-born Griffin, who spent the whole of the 2011 season on loan at Wakefield, has signed a 12-month deal with the Tigers after a proposed move to Crusaders fell through.

"Josh had signed for the Crusaders but when that fell over he became available and we managed to get him before he signed elsewhere so I'm pleased to have got him," said Millward. "He is quite a formidable size and he's a big boy for 21. I'm looking to add size and pace to the squad and he ticks both boxes."

Griffin will help plug the gap caused by the departure of Willie Isa, who is joining Widnes, while Millward is also looking to sign a second outside back and two forwards.

Meanwhile, the Tigers fought off competition to tie up home-grown winger and full-back Richard Owen, 21, on a new four-year deal. Castleford chief executive Richard Wright said: "There were a number of clubs who came in for him and Ian sees a lot more potential in him."

Owen, who missed most of the 2010 season with a broken leg, is the second Tigers player to commit his long-term future to the club after Rangi Chase signed a two-year extension to his contract, taking him to the end of 2015.

"Cas are the club I have always wanted to play for since being a young boy," Owen said. "With Ian joining the club and Rangi re-signing, we seem to be going in the right direction and Cas is the place to be. The club stood by me through my injury. The club and the medical staff were great with me and I want to repay them."

Wakefield have appointed Martin Clawson as their strength and conditioning coach on a three-year contract. Clawson joins the Wildcats from Barrow, where he spent the last 12 months as fitness coach. Before that he worked under Brian Noble at Crusaders and was the head of strength and conditioning at Bradford from 2002-09.

Wakefield chief executive James Elston said: "Martin has a proven track record of getting teams to have that competitive edge. His CV speaks for itself."

York City Knights have promoted Chris Thorman to the position of head coach following the sacking of Dave Woods. The Co-operative Championship club wasted little time in filling the vacancy after parting company with Woods 12 months almost to the day since he guided them to promotion.

The Knights say they had a two-month rolling agreement with the Australian, which either party were entitled to terminate within a two-year period. Thorman, who turned 31 this week, joined York from Hull two years ago and has been combining his on-field role with that of assistant coach under Woods.

"Obviously I was sorry to see Dave go and wish him all the best for the future," he said. "I am now focusing on the job in hand and looking forward to the role. I will sit down with the coaches and management staff over the next few days to formulate a list of players to identify but I have been involved with our recruitment and planning to date so that will make things easier."

Thorman started his professional career with Sheffield Eagles and also had spells with London Broncos, Huddersfield and in Australia with Parramatta before joining Hull in 2008. The half-back broke the rugby league scoring record with a 56-point haul against Northumbria University in the Challenge Cup earlier this year.

Woods guided the Knights to victory in the 2010 promotion play-off final and kept them in the Championship, albeit by default after Crusaders were denied a place following their withdrawal from Super League.