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3 days ago
ANTHONY Griffin returns to Dolphin Oval older and wiser after five years developing his coaching skills in the National Rugby League hothouse. A former junior development officer with the Dolphins, Griffin coached the Redcliffe Colts in 1997 before leaving to join the Melbourne Storm umbrella. With the departure of triple premiership coach Neil Wharton in the off-season, Griffin threw his hat in the ring for the top job at Redcliffe. "When I heard Neil had resigned, I got in contact with the club and it went from there," Griffin said. "I knew other guys were putting in for the job, but I fronted for the interview and it went from there. "It was good to get the job as it's just like coming home. It is that really because Dolphin Oval is where my senior coaching career started. It's great to be back." In the 2005 Queensland Cup season, Griffin faces the tough task of blending new faces with the core of past campaigners. Gone are Brian Jellick, Andrew Wynyard, Ben Jones, Trent Leis and Gavin Cooper while the recruiting net has been far and wide to join up and coming youngsters from Colts and A grade. Griffin also has brought three players from Souths Logan, his previous assignment, in hooker Daniel Irvine, centre Nick Emmett and rookie prop Matt Morice. Irvine turned out in 30 NRL matches for Parramatta while Emmett, a former Dolphins Colt, also played for the Sydney club. Griffin said Redcliffe football manager James Hinchey had looked after most of the club's recruiting with the end of the 2004 season. "We started back training on November 1 and we're looking good," Griffin said. "We are still looking for some outside backs. We have some quality in that spot but not the depth." Griffin joined the Storm in 1998 with three years at its Brisbane offshoot Norths before going to Melbourne in 2001 as head coach Chris Anderson's assistant. Anderson left the Storm halfway through the season to be replaced by former Dolphins and Sydney City coach Mark Murray. Griffin finished his commitments down south at the end of 2002 before joining Souths Logan. He said many faces were familiar at Dolphin Oval with Hinchey a player during previous stint at the club while Michael Roberts, Grant Flugge and Nathan Herbener members of his Colts squad. Herbener returned to his hometown of Roma after receiving two sternum fractures at Redcliffe, but has made the most of his time away with selection in the Queensland Rangers side over the past two seasons. Griffin now runs his own insurance and financial planning business, which although keeping him busy, allows him time for his football commitments. A resident at The Gap, he also has a family now with two daughters and a son. "We will be training three days a week - Monday, Wednesday and Friday - as well as the players being required to do a weights session on Thursdays," he said. Griffin believes the Queensland Cup has become stronger over recent seasons. "The competition has gone ahead in leaps and bounds over the past four to five years," he said. "I think it's because of the professionalism of the clubs and the quality of their players, as well as players who have come back from the NRL. "The NSW Premier League might be quicker and the skills better, but it is not played in the same spirit as the intensity is not as high."