Why Harry Grant's dad has changed his Origin allegiance
HE IS a staunch Blues supporter but Yeppoon's Paul Grant has jumped on board the Maroons bandwagon for the State of Origin decider.
He has good reason.
His son Harry Grant will make his State of Origin debut tonight, assuming the number 14 jersey from fellow Central Queensland product Ben Hunt.
The 22-year-old is tipped to provide relief for starting hooker Jake Friend who has played every minute of the first two games.
He will join Rockhampton product and five-eighth Cameron Munster in the Queensland line-up.
Munster has been cleared to play after he was forced from the field after hitting his head on the ground in the opening minutes of game two, which New South Wales won 34-10 to level the series.
Harry is set to provide some added spark off the bench, and more than 20 family members will be there to watch it, joining the more than 50,000 spectators at Suncorp Stadium.
Paul and wife Margie arrived in Brisbane yesterday afternoon and cannot wait to take their place at The Cauldron.
Paul said he would happily don maroon for the monumental occasion.
Born in Port Macquarie, his loyalty to the Blues has never wavered, even though he has lived in Queensland since 1988.
"It took Harry to get a start to turn me… I think that would have been the only reason," he said.
"I've been gifted about half a dozen Queensland shirts or jerseys so I'm right.
"I'll be in maroon. No doubt you'll see a picture from someone.
"I can't wait, I wish it would start now."
Paul said the family was incredibly proud of Harry's achievements this year and his Origin selection was the cherry on top.
Harry enjoyed a breakout NRL season with the Wests Tigers after an historic player loan deal with the Melbourne Storm and was named the club's Rookie of the Year.
He then went on to win the RLPA Rookie of the Year and the Dally M Rookie of the Year.
"We're rapt. All his hard work has paid off," Paul said.
"I didn't think it (Origin selection) would happen this year but it's fantastic that it has.
"There's talk about having 52,000 people at the game and they've just lifted the bans on the pubs so the Caxton's going to be in full swing.
"Harry will get on the bus and do the drive by, he'll love that.
"We might try to get into the Caxton too, but we want to get to Suncorp early so we don't miss anything."
Paul is confident Harry won't be overawed by the occasion.
"He doesn't tend to get nervous; he's pretty cool, like his mother," he said.
"Once he gets on there, it will just come naturally. He'll be right."
Paul has tipped a six-point win for the Maroons and has vowed to pack away his Blues jersey permanently now.