FORWARD Rod Griffin has been given a chance to secure an NRL deal at the age of 27.
Griffin will join the Brisbane Broncos for a pre-season training stint and Ipswich co-coach Shane Walker insists he has the talent and drive to play NRL.
While he has no NRL deal at this stage, the former PNG Kumuls Test player has the opportunity to impress Broncos coach Wayne Bennett and stake his claims.
Griffin, who played with the Tweed Heads Seagulls before joining the Jets, is rated highly by Walker.
“Rod has played against Australian teams in Tests that had Petero Civoniceva, Paul Gallen and Darren Lockyer and all those sort of guys in them,” Walker said.
“We first saw him playing for the Kumuls in the Four Nations tournament in 2010 and he was well and truly up to matching it physically with those guys.
“With his couple of days (a week) training with the Broncos in the pre-season, I am sure he will be able to impress with his speed, footwork and his strength.
“He is a back-rower and one of the things we like about him is that he can run a nice line of the halves charging into holes.
“Rod has that PNG raw strength that you can’t just get in a gym.”
“It is great exposure for him and terrific for all of our squad to see that playing NRL can be just around the corner for them if they have a really strong season, even though they are not signed to an NRL club.
Walker said Griffin has leadership qualities both on and off the field.”Even in his job now he has been promoted to be a supervisor in the last six months to a year so he has those leadership qualities and sometimes that comes with a bit of age, confidence and experience.”
Jets chairman Steve Johnson said Griffin had the qualities to realise his dream of playing in the NRL.
“He was a Test player, but because of PNG’s funding and politics he and others weren’t selected for (last year’s) World Cup squad after he had worked hard to warrant selection.
“But then he had an absolutely outstanding year at our place when he got himself in outstanding condition to play the style of football that (coaches) Ben and Shane Walker wanted.
“There has never been any doubt that Rod has the ability to play NRL. It is just a question of opportunity.
Griffin played prop for the Jets but Johnson says the back-row is the position the Broncos will be looking at him for.
“We play a very different style to any other football side in Australia, so while Rod wears 10 on his back he plays as an 11, 12 or 13,” Johnson said.