MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 16: (L-R) Tom Eisenhuth of the Storm, Nelson Asofa-Solomona of the Storm and Harry Grant of the Storm celebrate after winning the round six NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and the Sydney Roosters at AAMI Park on April 16, 2021, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Melbourne playmaker Harry Grant is set to remain in purple for the 2023 season, ruling out any move for the Queensland rake to venture back to his home state for the Dolphins' inaugural campaign.

Grant is tipped to be among a plethora of star names on the Dolphins' hit-list ahead of their opening season in the NRL, with local talent a priority for Wayne Bennett's expansion planning.

The 23-year-old has been closely linked to departing Victoria at the conclusion of his current contract, however, according to reporter Brent Read, the Storm and Grant are nearing an agreement on triggering an option in his contract for a further 12 months.

Melbourne have looked to balance the roles of Grant and fellow hooker Brandon Smith, who is also off-contract at the end of next season, with the minor premiers also looking to re-sign the New Zealand international for the future.

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Speaking on Triple M this week, Read revealed that the Storm have looked to secure Grant's services for the 2023 season prior to the Dolphins' player hunt planning.

“You can put a line through Harry Grant for the Dolphins,” Read said.

“Harry had a mutual option in his contract which means he could have taken it up or the club could take it up for the 2023 season.

“It is not due for months but Melbourne have informed Harry’s camp that they will take up that option.

“What that means is Grant will be a Storm player in 2023, so you can put a line through Harry being the first signing for the Dolphins. That won’t be happening.

“The Storm have also got Brandon Smith coming off-contract as well in 2022. They have at least now guaranteed that they have their hooking spot covered with Harry Grant.

“If Brandon Smith decides to go on the open market next year he will be inundated with offers, but the Storm have now got Harry Grant there anyway.

TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 23: Brandon Smith of the Storm warms up before the start of the round 19 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Melbourne Storm at QCB Stadium, on July 23, 2021, in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

“It is big news for the Dolphins because he was a priority signing for them.”

Grant had a stellar season with the Storm, playing 15 games for five tries and a further nine assists to his name since returning from his loan spell with the Wests Tigers for 2020.

Along with fellow Melbourne teammates Cameron Munster and Christian Welch, blue-chip Maroons names are sure to be on the radar of the Dolphins across the course of the next year.