His last competitive game was with the Melbourne Storm when they secured the 2017 premiership, and now as a nib Newcastle Knight Slade Griffin’s first game back will be against his former teammates.
As preparations heat up a squad of 26 is traveling down to Melbourne for the Club’s first hit-out in a closed trial match at AAMI Park.
The 27-year-old, who started with the Storm’s NYC squad in 2009, said he found it quite amusing when coach Nathan Brown revealed this season’s first opposition.
“It was pretty funny when Browny said we’d be playing them,” smiled Griffin.
“I’ve got some great friends down there and it’s going to be feel funny lining up against the boys but I’m excited to have my first game for the Knights.
“I’m sure I’ll cop plenty of special attention from them during the game.
“I had a lot of great memories; I played there since I was in the Under 20s so it’s going to be weird running out in red and blue… but I’m looking forward to it.”
While Griffin may have plenty of inside information about last year’s top side, he admits the focus this week has been more on what the Knights can do as a team.
“Everyone just wants to get their role right and see how our structures and planning for the game works,” Griffin explained.
“That’s what trials are for, to test structures and systems you’ve been through at pre-season and for everyone to stake their claim for the 17 at the start of the year.
“There’s a lot of competition for spots and I’m sure all the boys will be putting their hand up.”
With an extended squad making the trip minutes on the field will be limited for most players, although it may be a good thing with the temperature set to soar.
“It’ll be in 36-degree temps so it will be pretty hot out there,” Griffin said.
“We’re playing at 3pm so I’m sure those 20-minute quarters will be in need.”
Griffin, who will be contesting the hooker role with New Zealand international Danny Levi during the 2018 season, maintains while some of the big names at Melbourne might be rested for the trial he has no doubts their team will still be strong.
“I don’t know what they will roll out, but I know they’ve got a lot of depth down there and I know they’ll put a good team forward,” insisted Griffin.
“The competition is very intense, they’ve got a lot of young players coming through so they’ll all be trying their hardest and it’s going to be a tough game.
“It’s going to be fun, a different style of game, everyone will want to play well and I’m looking forward to it.”