IT WAS put to Paul Harragon that Tim Grant plays like, is built like and even looks a tad like ”The Chief” in his heyday.
”Mate, he’s a good-looking bloke, that’s for sure,” Harragon chuckled.
The physical similarities are uncanny. Grant stands at 196 centimetres and weighs 111 kilograms, while Harragon was a similarly imposing 193cm and 111kg in his prime. Harragon, who represented his state and country on 20 occasions each, reckons the Penrith prop could also become a mainstay in the representative arena.
”He’s got the potential to be a long-term Origin player, which is a big call,” Harragon said. ”I’ve only had a limited time of watching him but I think he’s got it. I can’t put any rhyme, reason or data to it, but he’s got it. For a lot of people that anxiety, that up-and-down rollercoaster ride with all the pressure – it feels like the whole world is watching you [in Origin].
”He got through all of that and that’s a big mental effort and that’s the type of willpower and mental power that Origin players have. He mentally got himself up over all of those things and played good football, tough football. The fact he’s a good size of a kid is wonderful too. It’s always great to have size.”
Size, Harragon believes, is one of the keys to a successful Origin forward pack. In recent years the Maroons have had the best big men with the likes of Shane Webcke, Steve Price, Petero Civoniceva and Matt Scott rolling off the production line. But having witnessed Grant put Civoniceva on his backside with his first interstate hit-up, Harragon reckons the tide could turn.
”He’s a tall, rangy bloke and he’s got great mobility,” Harragon said.
”I was sitting there watching him and the thought just came to me: ‘this boy has handled this’. He’s got an Origin mind, he can overcome all the distractions and he’s in good form. I was very impressed with him. I know it’s not a technical analysis of what he’s good at and what he’s not good at, but it’s a big statement. In 1992 onwards, we had a big team – Lazzo [Glenn Lazarus], myself, Paul Sironen, Brad Clyde … [John] Cartwright and [Ian] Roberts. They were all six foot three or four or five and 110kg or 120kg. Having a good big man is great.”
It appears the Blues could, in fact, have two quality big men. Harragon was also taken with fellow big bopper James Tamou in his opening two Origin matches. ”I was impressed with his start for the same reason,” he said. ”The pair of them, they are the makings of a big turnaround towards success. Two genuine big guys that are not overawed, can handle the pressure and achieve the ideal performance on the big stage. You go all the way to the top of the scale and look at a Wally Lewis or an Andrew Johns – they don’t care how big the stadium or what the occasion is. They just go and perform. Joey didn’t care if he was playing a Test at Wembley or at Cessnock. He just plays. All the ones on the bottom of the scale let that hype and pressure get to them.”
”The Chief” said the Suncorp Stadium decider was an opportunity for the Blues squad to etch their name into the history books. ”You can be a hero or a zero. It will come down to their thoughts and actions. This is unscripted drama, reality TV at it’s best.”
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