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NRL 2020: Star Wests Tigers hooker will honour Melbourne contract

Courier Mail 2020-07-14 10:30:00

Harry Grant has become a fan favourite at the Wests Tigers, but the rising hooker says he’s given Melbourne “my word” he’ll return in 2021 as part of the NRL’s first loan deal.

Grant’s playing future beyond this season has created conjecture following his standout form for the Tigers.

In his seven games since joining the club from Melbourne in March as part of a loan deal with back Paul Momirovski, the Rockhampton-born rake has scored two tries and revitalised the team’s attack.

This has prompted passionate Tigers fans to urge Grant to turn his back on the Storm and sign long-term with the joint-venture club, given the presence of NRL legend Cameron Smith in the number nine jersey in Melbourne.

Smith, who turned 37 in June, is yet to announce whether he’ll play on next season.

But Grant made it clear he will return to Melbourne even if Smith opts to play on.

“I’ve given Melbourne my word that I’ll go back,” Grant said.

“They were good enough to give me an opportunity so that is how it is.

“It has always been Wests Tigers in 2020 and back to Melbourne in 2021, so that is how it will be at this stage.

“That is the way it has been with the loan deal and it is just the way it is going to go.”

media_cameraCameron Smith shows no signs of slowing down in Melbourne. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Grant, though, is humbled that the Wests’ faithful have fallen in love with his hard-working and shrewd style.

He has thoroughly enjoyed his time at the Tigers and learning from experienced players like Benji Marshall and Chris Lawrence.

“Everyone at the club has been great to me,” he said.

“It is a good feeling for me knowing that I’ve got the fans behind me and supporting me week to week.

“That is what I’m here to do is to play footy, but it helps that I’ve got the fans behind me.”

Tigers prop Josh Aloiai would love Grant to remain at the club after forming a strong combination with him in the front-row.

Aloiai believes the gifted Queenslander is destined to succeed.

“That is the good thing about him – he is a sponge and that is why I think he is going to go to the heights of our game,” Aloiai said.

“He is also a good kid. Good people who want to learn always make for good players.

“I feel like he has got all the traits of a person that is going to play our game for a long time.

“He is very mature, intelligent and wants to learn – he doesn’t represent someone who has only played nine NRL games.”

Aloiai will miss Grant’s skill and friendship when he returns to Melbourne next season, but he will also miss his sense of humour.

“Harry can take a joke,” he said.

“The forwards have been giving him a hard time because he hasn’t been rapping us enough about his good form.

“He needs to pull his head in a bit there because us forwards have been making him look good.

“But I love playing with Harry. You would be silly not to want to play with him. I have a good partnership and friendship with him off the field.”

Originally published as Grant: I’ll go back to Storm

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