Harry Grant produced much class in his first start under Craig Bellamy for the Melbourne Storm in the sides 40-14 win against the Cronulla Sharks on Friday night at AAMI Park.
Storm have now secured five straight wins, the fifth coming with the help of Grant. He led the way for most tackles made by a Storm player, laying 36. He also provided three line break assists and two try assists during the match.
The visitors went into the break with a mere two-point advantage, and it was Grant who was a part of the action come second half to steal the lead for Storm.
In three second-half tries, Grant passed on the final passes in an incredible individual effort.
Grant set up Eisenhuth five minutes into the second half that gave Storm the lead. Seven minutes later, Grant assisted Kamikamica with another try. The home side had just doubled their lead against the Sharks, all thanks to his smart play.
Grant’s start off the bench allowed for both himself and Brandon Smith to both start on field for the first time; Grant as hooker and Smith as lock.
The question remains: does Grant keep his position in the starting side? Bellamy said he is unsure whether the two will again start off the bench together.
“One of [Grant’s] strengths is being able to play 80 minutes and we wanted to see how he and Brandon went starting together,” Bellamy said at the post match press conference.
“We will mix it up a bit and do what we think is best for the team each week and I am sure the players will be happy with that.”
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Grant was loaned to the West Tigers in 2020. Despite his sides struggles, he accumulated 10 linebreak assists, eight try assists, and 22 tackle busts from 15 games. His season also earned him the Daly M Hooker of the Year for 2020.
He is close to reaching similar numbers with the Storm in just his four games for the season.
Former Storm player Cooper Cronk suggested that the move to start Grant was Bellamy’s (successful) attempt at matching the Shark’s forward group.
“If the big starting pack is huge then I think Nelson starts [at lock], if it is mobile Brandon Smith starts [with Grant at hooker],” Cronk said.
Grant’s combination of footy smarts, knowing when to run, as well as having a strong body makes him a favourable pick for the Storm. He was able to prove this against the Sharks by picking when to take on the defensive line with 64 run metres.
With only six Storm games under his belt, Grant has a lot to prove should he keep his position in the starting side. A start like this will have Bellamy considering the way his team lines up for the rest of the season.
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