Prior to hull’s Super League clash with London on Thursday, the Black and Whites centre Josh Griffin has come out to speak from his experience by urging other fellow players to speak out about mental health issues.
Griffin was seriously heart broken by the sudden demise of his father four years ago but tried to cope with the tragedy thanks to the support he got within the game.
The former Wakefield, Castleford and Salford threequarter is one among a host of players promoting Super League’s Wellbeing Round, which commences when Hull host London Broncos at the KCOM Stadium on Thursday night.
“There is this mindset amongst viewers that paints us as a big, tough human beings but we’ve all got that fragile heart too,” Griffin said. “Everyone faces mental problems, you never know what’s going on with you”.
“I had to deal with anger issues after my dad died and it got me in a bit of trouble but thankfully with the support I had around me, I was able to get through it before it became too late.”
Few days after his father’s death, Griffin, older brother Darrell and younger sibling George all decided to play together for the first time in their careers for Salford at the Magic Weekend in Newcastle.
However, it ended horrifically as the Red Devils went down 38-16 to Widnes at the St James’ Park, with all the three brothers making the headlines for all the negative reasons.
“This was our first game together so our dad would have been there,” Griffin recalled. “I feel it was probably too soon in terms of our mental state”.
“If I recall correctly, Darrell got a red card, I got a yellow for having a bit of rough challengeand then George got put on report.
“But we went through it together and used rugby as a way of escaping that.”
Griffin left Salford 18 months later to join Hull and was in the team that successfully defended the Challenge Cup at Wembley some eight months later.
The Black and Whites are less than 2hours away from another trip to Wembley and are also well placed for a tilt at Old Trafford, however they go into Thursday’s game on the back of successive defeats at the hands of Hull KR and St Helens.
“The past couple weeks has not been so good for the team” Griffin admitted. “Our season has been built on hard work and doing the essentials of the game right.
“The last two matches we’ve let up a lot of the ball so this week we need to go back to what we’ve been doing well.
“We’re still in third place and we’re still in the Challenge Cup semi-final but Wigan are just lurking behind and they’re probably the in-form team at the moment, so we’ve got to build some confidence from our next two games against London and Leeds going into the semi-final.”
The Broncos kept their hopes of avoiding relegation with three successive wins and, although back-to-back defeats to Castleford and Warrington have sent them crashing back to the bottom of the table, though Griffin believes they still remain a threat.
“We went there and had a really difficult game against them,” he said. “They’re a young side and they’re agile, fit and enthusiastic, they play with a lot of energy.
“They’re in a relegation battle as well so they’re going to come at us even more so we’ve got to match them and take our opportunities when we can.”
William Kellogg is a veteran writer who’s covered the subject of the intersection of technology, health and mental wellness for nearly two decades.