Broncos rookie Jake Granville is eyeing off a more regular NRL spot in season 2014. Credit: NRL Photos Copyright: NRL Photos
He may only have played two NRL games to date but no one can accuse Broncos utility Jake Granville of not being a fast learner.
With a carpentry apprenticeship almost completed and his rugby league education advancing every year, Granville wasn't fooled into thinking this week's training camp on the Sunshine Coast was going to be full of surfing, golf and drinks by the pool.
With their first trial of the 2014 season against the Cowboys at Redcliffe now less than two weeks away, new strength and conditioning coach Alex Corvo is having one last crack at whipping the Broncos into shape, despite what he and coach Anthony Griffin might have told the players.
"The mood's pretty good. We've got a camp this week which should give us the chance to bond a bit more. All the boys are keen and ready to go," said Granville, who with just two games to his name is still considered an NRL rookie in 2014.
"I think they're trying to trick us with the program that they've set up but it will be good to get away with the boys for three or four days.
"I'd say there'll be a few sneaky sessions in there somewhere."
Due to turn 25 on February 7, Granville's rise from the Broncos' under-20s ranks in 2009 to the NRL has been a much more gradual process than his former NYC teammates in Josh McGuire, Alex Glenn, Jharal Yow Yeh and Antonio Winterstein.
He spent two years under now Cowboys coach Paul Green at Intrust Super Cup club Wynnum Manly in 2011 and 2012 and actually rejected an offer from North Queensland to re-sign with the Broncos at the end of last season for a further year.
There is continued speculation that Storm skipper Cameron Smith will join the Broncos in 2015 but for the meantime Granville is soaking up as much information as he can from incumbent Broncos No.9 Andrew McCullough.
"He's pretty helpful. He's pretty good there out of nine and he's helped me with my kicking a fair bit," Granville said, admitting that his kicking game is an area that he needs to develop further. "It's good to learn off a player like that.
"He's a good fella 'Macca' and I'd just be happy to play anywhere in this team."
Although he had limited opportunities in 2013, Granville's pace off the mark was a handy weapon for the Broncos in his two appearances against the Titans and Bulldogs in rounds 10 and 11. In a big Broncos win over the Titans, the Rockhampton junior showcased his full range of skills with a dart from dummy half and a grubber in behind the defensive line that led directly to a try for winger Lachlan Maranta. And for a sense of how Granville is viewed by his teammates, half the team ran to congratulate the tryscorer and half ran to congratulate the not-so-young kid on debut.
It's testament to his character that he never gave up on his dream of playing in the NRL and he said he is determined to force his way into coach Anthony Griffin's squad on a more regular basis.
"I just tried to enjoy my footy as much as I could," Granville said of his years on the fringe. "We've got a good team back at Wynnum Manly and good coaching staff so I just tried to enjoy my footy and then go from there.
"It was good to hear, that [Griffin] was going to keep an eye on all of us that went back to the Queensland Cup.
"My goals would be just to get in the team somehow and play a lot more NRL and try and better my game."