Melbourne hooker Harry Grant has requested an immediate release in a bid to join Wests Tigers for the upcoming season.
And if the joint-venture club doesn't get its man, Billy Walters – the son of Queensland coach Kevin – is firming to start the year in the No.9 jersey.
Melbourne’s Harry Grant has requested a release from the Storm.Credit:AAP
Melbourne will need to tread carefully with Grant given his delicate contract situation. The 22-year-old is signed with the Victorian outfit until the end of 2022, although he has a get-out clause that he can activate if Cameron Smith opts to play on next year. The situation will place pressure on the former Queensland and Australian captain to make an early call or the club will risk losing his likely replacement.
Grant is frustrated that the presence of Cameron and Brandon Smith has limited him to just two NRL appearances. The Rockhampton product is considered one of the best young dummy halves and was hoping to join the Tigers to develop his game while unable to consistently crack the Storm side.
"For my development, I believe the next step for me is to play NRL and unfortunately I won’t get too many games at Melbourne," Grant told the Herald last week. "I’m hoping for [a release]. As selfless as it would be for the club, long-term it would benefit the club.
"I’m open to it, the Tigers are open to it but whether the Storm is, I’d have to sit down and have a chat with [coach] Craig Bellamy and [CEO] Dave [Donaghy]. I don’t know how it works, if I go now they might have to sign a new player and be in the same boat (with the salary cap).
"What I need now development-wise is to play footy at a higher level at NRL. I might have to chase that elsewhere and the Tigers is a good opportunity for both parties."
If the Storm block Grant's request, Walters is the favourite to get first crack at wearning the No.9 jersey vacated by Robbie Farah. The presence of Moses Mbye and Josh Reynolds – the latter free to play after police dropped domestic violence charges against him – will give coach Michael Maguire some depth in the position.
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