CQ product part of historic NRL player loan deal
RUGBY LEAGUE: Yeppoon’s Harry Grant will turn out with the Wests Tigers if NRL returns this season.
The 21-year-old hooker has moved from the Melbourne Storm to the Sydney-based club on an exchange agreement, believed to be the first of its kind in the national competition.
While Grant headed north, Tigers outside back Paul Momirovski moved in the other direction.
Both players will return to their original clubs for 2021.
The deal was finalised just hours before the NRL suspended its 2020 season in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking before the suspension was imposed, Grant said the deal offered an opportunity to play more NRL.
“At the Storm, they’ve got Brandon (Smith) and Cameron (Smith) and I was sitting in the wings behind them.
“Bels (coach Craig Bellamy) was pretty forward with me and said I don’t really know how many opportunities you’ll get this year, whether it’s five, whether it’s 10, whether it’s one or two.
“I wanted to develop my game away from Intrust Cup and at the next level so I’m just very grateful that the Tigers gave me this opportunity.
“I’m a very competitive player and I want to win. I’m coming here to hopefully train well and get picked in the side each week.”
Storm general manager – football Frank Ponissi said the exchange would help both clubs’ premiership campaigns in 2020, as well as fast-track the development of two quality young footballers.
“It will certainly benefit Harry’s development for him to have a good shot at regular NRL action for the Tigers this year,” Ponissi said.
“He is one of the best young hookers in the game who we see as a long-term player for Storm and look forward to having him rejoin us for 2021.”
Grant has played two NRL games for Melbourne and won the Storm’s Feeder Club Player of the Year Award in 2019.
He had a standout year with the Sunshine Coast Falcons in the Intrust Super Cup, finishing with 14 tries, 21 try assists, 879 tackles and an average of 99.9 running metres per game.
He was named the Falcons Player of the Year and was third in the Petero Civoniceva Medal tally.
Grant recently extended his contract with the Storm until the end of the 2022 season.