By ISAAC LIRI
ROD Griffin is one of the most experienced players in year’s Kumuls World Cup squad.
Griffin and David Mead are the only survivors from the 2008 World Cup squad.
The 30-year-old after 2010 missed several tests but he returned to the national spot light in last year’s Pacific test against Fiji.
Griffin was given the honour of captaining the Kumuls at this year’s Pacific test against the Cook Islands in May and his form over the last three seasons has made him a valuable addition to the Kumuls’ hopes of advancing past the pool stage. The 10-test Kumul has been picked for his tough, uncompromising play as well as the experience his well-travelled boots will bring to the side.
“I think we can make it to the quarter-finals, we have the team and if everything goes well our way, I don’t see why not,” Griffin said at training this week.
“I think I’ll just provide a bit of guidance for the players coming up. I have been around for a while and I know we have some good young talent in the team and they’ll surely need some guidance at this World Cup.”
“They can play footy but at times with the pressure on they shy off a bit so I will definitely do my part,” Griffin, who has played at several Q-Cup clubs over a decade-long career, said.
He commended the team put together by the selectors as one of the best sides and was looking forward to playing alongside key men like David Mead, Luke Page and Ase Boas as well as talents in James Segeyaro, Nene Macdonald, Kato Ottio, Kurt Baptiste, Justin Olam, Garry Lo and Canterbury Bankstown teammate Rhyse Martin.
“I think this is one of the best teams we’ve had in a while. With the Hunters programme coming up and the players that are in the NRL system now like Justin Olam, Kato Ottio, Nene MacDonald and James Segeyaro coming in makes this side a very good one,” he said.
“With us the forwards I think the go forward will be our key point because once we get on the front foot we can play football on the back of that with our backline.
“I am also looking forward to playing here at home. Some of the boys based in Australia have never played at the new stadium (National Football Stadium), so it will be good.
“The last time I played here was at the old Lloyd Robson Oval.
“I always look forward in coming to the Kumuls camps. Once you are in a routine in the Aussie system week in week out and then you come into this camp is like good, seeing all the boys gelling and smiling, you start to realise what footy is all about and what got you there in the first place, for the love of the game,” Griffin said.
The team flies out today for the Tri-Series in Suva, Fiji.
By ISAAC LIRI