It’s not often a team can feature an Origin-winning five eighth, a modern legend who could come into immortal conversations, a current Queensland Origin player and a number of emerging origin players with over 100 NRL games to their name and yet their best player has yet to play ten first grade games – but that’s the Wests Tigers for you.
Most pundits predicted Harry Grant would be a good pick up for the Tigers, few would have envisioned him sitting second on the Dally M chart with ten points from just five appearances. But in reality his influence on this team has extended far beyond racking up those points.
Grant’s input has completely changed the way the Tigers play. For years they’ve been known as a team that likes to throw the ball around – or perhaps more accurately; they’re a team that had to due to the perception of a soft middle.
But now, it is Grant who continues to expose the opposition through that zone, with a perfect understanding of when to run, impeccable service and the ability to constantly draw markers.
The single greatest change that’s occurred for this team since coach Michael Maguire put the broom through the side following the Titans match, is not Josh Reynolds or Luke Brooks taking a more dominant role in the absence of Marshall – it’s that Grant has been identified as the director and star.
He’s a genuine nine and honestly, they’re few and far between over the past decade in the NRL.
As it stands, this is a player who’s influence on his team should already cater enormous sums of money. Put into perspective that he’s only 22, and has just seven games to his name and the room for growth is enormous. Typically I hate the idea of contracting players based on potential (hello Luke Brooks), but as ridiculous as it sounds Grant has already shown enough this season alone to warrant a Jason Taumalolo type deal.
Steven ‘Blocka’ Roach may have been leaning into hyperbole when eh proclaimed the club should make Grant a Tiger for life, but, he’s actually spot on.
There’s a handful of players you can name that clubs have attempted to build their team around – Kalyn Ponga for the Knights, Mitchell Moses for the Eels, Nathan Cleary for the Panthers. Sometimes the club gets it right (like the aforementioned) and success that hasn’t been seen in a long time flows.
Get it wrong and it can be catastrophic – take the Titans. But at the end of the day every team needs a talisman to at least attempt to build around. Grant is a player who has now achieved such status and the Tigers need to pounce.
If it requires moving heaven and earth, brain washing Cameron Smith, tearing up Paul Momorovski’s permanent return or throwing some more players to the Storm – the Tigers need to lock up Grant, and do so long term and with an open cheque book. Bring on the next ten-year ten million dollar man, he is that good.