Grevsmuhl ready to reignite NRL career
Former Sharks hooker Michael Sullivan believes Chris Grevsmuhl has rediscovered the passion he needs to succeed in the NRL after the 24-year-old walked away from the Panthers to spend the summer working on building sites in the New South Wales central west town of Orange and training part time.
Starting his second week as a Titan in the lead up to Round 5, Grevsmuhl could make his NRL return as early as this week but will most likely have a game or two in the Intrust Super Cup before playing first grade again.
After 43 games in the NRL Grevsmuhl was released by the Panthers in order to address personal issues and he immediately headed to Orange where his fiance, Tori Moore, hails from.
He linked with local Group 10 club Orange CYMS and trained throughout the pre-season but before he could turn out in a game the desire to play NRL had been reignited and interested clubs began to come calling.
The Titans won the race to his signature, signing him to a deal that takes him through until the end of the 2018 season, and Sullivan has no doubt they will reap a rich reward.
Sullivan, who played 74 NRL games for the Sea Eagles, Sharks and Bulldogs, is entering his eighth season as captain-coach of Orange CYMS and while disappointed not to have the services of Grevsmuhl himself, said that time away from the pressures of the NRL will have done the former Panther and Rabbitoh the world of good.
"It was probably refreshing for him not to have any of that [pressure] involved of the other stuff that was going on," Sullivan told NRL.com.
"He even said in one session that it was good to go back and have a bit of fun and footy with mates and where it was a bit more relaxed.
"I would have loved to have had him – that sort of ball running out of here would have been devastating – but I was never hopeful of getting him. It was more just a temporary thing and a stopover until he found another NRL club.
"He took on a bit of coaching responsibility, just some of the new plays in the NRL and how to run your x's and things like that. He was pretty positive to be around the group.
"He did some extras which was good to see and then when he did the coaching he was really good. It was just good to have a guy with some experience around."
Titans coach Neil Henry saw Grevsmuhl emerge from the tiny town of Hughenden and come into the North Queensland Cowboys system where he went on to score two tries in the under-20s' 2011 Grand Final loss to the Warriors and represent Australian Schoolboys, Queensland under-20s and Junior Kangaroos.
In 2015 he burst onto the scene after playing for the Rabbitohs in their successful Auckland Nines campaign, scored a try in the annual Charity Shield and then another in his first appearance with the Indigenous All Stars before making his NRL debut in Round 1.
In Round 12 of that year he scored a double against the Titans at what will now be his home ground and Henry said he would not have signed him had he not displayed the desire necessary to compete in the NRL again.
"He was questioning his desire to play, there's no doubt about that, at the NRL level and he needed to go get out of Sydney and rekindle that desire and hunger to play," Henry said of Grevsmuhl's stint in Orange.
"He's done that. He said he does want to play the game and he's committed to it so time will tell.
"It's a bit of a lifeline here for him and he feels comfortable with the people he knows. He played with Chris McQueen at Souths and they're good friends so that really helped as well.
"He knows a few people here so I think the environment is here and hopefully he can produce some good footy."
More than the on-field opportunity, Henry believes that it is the environment at the Gold Coast and the support network available off the field that will allow Grevsmuhl to transition back into the NRL and realise his enormous potential.
"I feel that he needs to play football and he's been out of the game for a bit now. He hasn't really done a pre-season so he's virtually had three months out," Henry told NRL.com.
"He's a country boy and his partner is a country girl as well but I think it was more that he knows people here. I was up at the Cowboys, Terry Matterson was there as well, Sean Edwards was involved with him at Souths so he's got three staff members he feels comfortable with.
"I've got a lot of faith in Pete Smith and Jen Cross with our welfare and unless that side is comfortable about playing and he's organised then he's not going to play good footy.
"He's been in the emerging Origin squad before so he's been thought of in that category but he's had quite a disjointed last 12 months of footy and other things have taken over from him being able to play consistent football.
"Hopefully he can get back to that and just focus on his footy and play for the club."