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Anthony Griffin (born 26 August 1966) is an Australian rugby league coach and former player. Nicknamed "Hook", he played in the Brisbane Rugby League premiership during the 1980s before taking up coaching. After success in the Queensland Cup and Toyota Cup competitions, Griffin replaced Ivan Henjak as head coach of the Brisbane Broncos from 2011 to 2014 and later served as head coach for the Penrith Panthers from 2016 to 2018.

Early life

Griffin was born in Park Avenue, Rockhampton, Queensland, and attended Emmaus College in Rockhampton.[4]

Playing career

Griffin played in the Brisbane Rugby League premiership for Brothers from 1985 to 1987 largely as a hooker. He then played for Brothers in Rockhampton from 1988 to 1992.

Coaching career

Griffin coached the colts teams for Redcliffe (1995–97), winning the premiership in 1997.[5] The following year he moved to Brisbane Norths, taking them to the colts premiership in his first year there, and also coaching the Queensland under 17s representative team in 1998. After another colts premiership with Norths in 2000, Griffin joined the coaching staff of the NRL's Melbourne Storm and was Chris Anderson's then Mark Murray's assistant in 2001 and 2002. Returning to Queensland, he coached the Souths Logan Magpies in the Queensland Cup from 2003 to 2004. He then joined the Redcliffe Dolphins, coaching them from 2005 to 2007 and winning the competition with them in 2006. He also coached the Queensland Residents side in 2007.

Griffin coached the Brisbane Broncos' under-20s side to the 2008 Toyota Cup season's grand final. He was appointed as assistant to head coach Ivan Henjak for the 2010 NRL season, in which the Broncos failed to make the finals series for the first time since 1991.[6]

Less than three weeks from the beginning of the 2011 NRL season, Griffin became the third ever coach of the Broncos when he was unexpectedly announced to be replacing Henjak. After losing their first match, the Broncos went on to win seven matches in a row, to be sitting equal top of the ladder with the St. George Illawarra Dragons at the conclusion of Round 8. Griffin employed a policy of resting key players such as Darren Lockyer and Sam Thaiday after mid-season representative matches and Brisbane's ladder position slipped. However they returned to the top four after the 2011 State of Origin series. The Broncos finished the regular season in third place, their best finish to the regular season since their last premiership in 2006. Griffin then took them to within one match of the grand final. However without injured captain Darren Lockyer Brisbane were knocked out of contention by eventual premiers, the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles.

During the 2014 NRL season it was announced that Griffin would not be head coach of the Broncos the following season due to the return of the club's foundation coach, Wayne Bennett.

On 21 October 2015 it was announced that Griffin had accepted the head coaching position with the Penrith Panthers on a three-year deal.[7] On 4 October 2017, Griffin signed a new two year extension to stay as Penrith coach until the end of 2020 after guiding the club to consecutive finals appearances.[8] On 6 of August 2018, Griffin and the Penrith Panthers club decided to part ways with immediate effect, leaving assistant coach Cameron Ciraldo as caretaker coach.

In the aftermath of being sacked by Penrith, Griffin and Gould proceeded to trade barbs in the media. Gould went on record as saying “We just got the feeling that everything Anthony has brought to the club over the last three years, we’ve probably seen the best of it … I think the pressure from the media and constant speculation was eating away at him … Anthony is very old school, he likes to do everything himself. I think in the modern day age the head coach has got to rely on the expertise, knowledge and assistance".

Griffin later came out and said “He hasn’t coached for 20 years. He hasn’t had his head in the fire for 20 years. If there’s anyone old school in the conversation — if I’m in the conversation about being old school, he’d need to be there as well". Griffin then later spoke of Gould claiming that he was sad after a win and happy after a loss. Griffin told the media “We were officially on top of the ladder, having overcome this huge run of injuries earlier in the year, but nothing. When we lost there was always an inquiry, how had we had failed in our preparation, but there was never any inquiry when we won". “I have never seen him so happy than when Brisbane put 50 on us. And then I’ve never seen him so agitated than when we just beat Manly (in a 28-24 thriller at Brookvale Oval on July 28 2018)".[9][10]

In 2019, Griffin joined the 2GB Continuous Call Team program as one of the co-commentators for selected matches.[11]

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