Due to Harry Grant’s form this season, the Melbourne Storm have concluded that should they loan any players in the future, they will be forbidden from facing them when the time comes, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
This decision was made in light of the upcoming clash with the Wests Tigers on Saturday evening. A game in which Grant will be permitted to take part in.
Earlier this season, Melbourne and Wests brokered the first deal of its kind. The Storm sent Grant to Leichhardt Oval and received the services of Paul Momirovski in return.
Such was the haste in concluding this inaugural deal, the aforementioned clubs neglected to include a clause stating each player would be prohibited from games involving the two clubs.
This inaction raised eyebrows in March when an official Wests press release stated that “both players will be eligible for selection when Wests Tigers face Melbourne”.
Future loan deals have included said clause with Parramatta blocking Warriors loanees George Jennings and Daniel Alvaro from facing them. The Panthers also covered themselves with Jack Hethrington ruled as an ineligible player.
Despite Grant no doubt champing at the bit to face the Storm and Cameron Smith, Melbourne football manager Frank Ponissi was less enthused when queried this week.
“Ask me about 7.30pm on Saturday if it was a good idea or not a good idea to leave out the clause preventing Harry from playing against us.
“It was new for us and the Tigers when we did this deal. Paul Momirovski could have played against the Tigers, but it’s a shame he’s out injured.
“It was never considered, and while we’ve got no regrets about not doing it with Harry, it will be something we look at moving forward.”
Grant was always viewed as Smith’s backup, but even they have been surprised with his white hot form this season.
Should Smith retire at season’s end, Grant will no doubt be recalled as the Storm’s starting hooker for 2021.
With a decision yet to be made on Smith’s future, it has been suggested that he is wary of impeding the development of not only Grant, but that too of Brandon Smith.
When asked about this notion, Grant gave this coy answer.
“It’s hard for me to take [hearing that]. As a player I don’t want to have too much of an influence on what he does with his future.
“What he has done for the game and the Melbourne Storm as a club, he deserves to play again – I can’t picture an NRL season next year without Cam playing.”
If Smith decides to remain in purple next season, Grant will be free to investigate any other options with the Tigers no doubt leading the pack.
Although finals are off the cards for Grant and the Tiger’s, the number nine was roused about the challenge of facing the Storm.
“You have to compete on every play against Melbourne because that’s what they’ll be doing,” Grant said.
“We’ll go out and enjoy our footy, we might play some ad-lib footy because we’ve got nothing to lose. That could upset the way they defend, they’re such a structured defensive unit, so playing off the cuff might upset them.”
Adding further intrigue to the clash, Josh Addo-Carr will line up for Melbourne this weekend, even though he is well down the path in negotiations with Wests.
The Tigers and Storm will do battle at Sunshine Coast stadium at 5.30 EST this Saturday.