Sport

Grant aims for swift rise to NRL

SHOOTING HIGH: Willis Grant is the new star recruit for Swifts Rugby League Club.
SHOOTING HIGH: Willis Grant is the new star recruit for Swifts Rugby League Club. Sarah Harvey
SHOOTING HIGH: Willis Grant is the new star recruit for Swifts Rugby League Club.
SHOOTING HIGH: Willis Grant is the new star recruit for Swifts Rugby League Club. Sarah Harvey

IN 2007, Willis Grant made his Queensland Cup debut in the same match as Jharal Yow Yeh for Norths.

Since then their footballing lives have taken a very different route.

But new Swifts signing Grant hopes it is only a matter of time before they are again on a similar path.

"I want a second chance at the NRL," said the 23-year-old from Tully in North Queensland.

"I've got to give a big thanks to Paul Srama and William Fisher for helping me get my foot in the door.

"Swifts have welcomed me with open arms and they're a good bunch of guys.

"I'm really looking forward to getting on the field with them."

Swifts football director Srama once coached Grant's uncle Billy Fisher and had put the word out for players.

Fisher recommended Grant and the one-time Melbourne Storm contracted player was headed to Ipswich.

Grant's presence will be a huge help as the club looks to recover from a dreadful 2012.

If he sticks around long that is.

The flying centre hopes to be noticed by the Ipswich Jets and subsequently the Brisbane Broncos, or another NRL club.

He has no doubt he has the talent to do so, having seen what some of his contemporaries have achieved.

"Me and Jharal are good mates," he said. "We made our Q Cup debut together.

"I've got a lot of mates in the NRL, like Ben Barba and Travis Waddell."

Grant is also a cousin of Justin Hodges.

"I reckon I can get up there," he said. "I reckon I can do better than some of the boys are.

"Seeing Ben Barba win the Dally M opened my eyes a bit more.

"I'm just as good as the NRL boys."

Grant is not prepared to waste any time catching up.

"An NRL contract is every boy's dream," he said.

"Hopefully I can get there by next year, or lock up a contract by the end of this year."

An NRL contract is every boy's dream. Hopefully I can get there by next year, or lock up a contract by the end of this year.

Grant came on to the scene as a fullback but became a left centre under the tutelage of Greg Inglis at the Storm.

"The biggest person I looked up to was Inglis," he said.

"I trained with him at the Melbourne Storm and he helped me find it (left centre) easy to fit into."

That was at the start of 2008, with Grant set to be part of the club's Toyota Cup (under-20) team in the competition's opening season.

But it was not to be as the club let him go after his third alcohol-related strike.

"Being a youngster in the big city," he said.

"Getting caught up with alcohol and being homesick and all that.

"They gave me two warnings but obviously I didn't learn."

After four years back in Tully trying to work things out, Grant sees this as his last chance to make it in the NRL.

"I spent four years just waiting to know where everything was going," he said.

"I was trying my hardest to get my motivation back for footy.

"Being in a little country town, there's not much exposure.

"I had to leave my mum and dad and sick great grandmother.

"That was the hardest part."

Driving him on is the dream of a better future for his wife and two daughters.

"The biggest part of it is my two girls," he said.

"I'm doing it for my two daughters."

I'm doing it for my two daughters.

 

 

FRESH START

  • Age: 23
  • Height: 185cm
  • Weight: 94kg
  • Favourite player: Mal Meninga.
  • Best advice: You're never too old to do anything.
  • Favourite meal: Spaghetti bolognese.
  • Person you'd least like to get stuck in an elevator with: Probably Sam Thaiday. He'd just talk all day.
  • Favourite TV show: Two and a half men.
  • Ultimate holiday destination: Mauritius

Topics:  brisbane broncos ipswich jets jharal yow yeh nrl paul srama queensland cup



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