Tim not taking 200-game milestone for granted

Penrith prop Tim Grant is back on the park - finally - and heading toward his 200th NRL game.

It could have happened in a Wests Tigers jersey last year under then coach Ivan Cleary.

But it seems certain to happen this year at the Panthers - again under Cleary.

"I had an idea in my head it was close," said Grant, who plays game No.191 on Friday when the Panthers host Souths.

"I would love to play 200 games in a Penrith jersey."

That indeed would have a nice synergy.

Grant made his debut with the Panthers in 2007, playing eight seasons before being cut for salary cap reasons. He went to the Rabbitohs in 2015 but played only one year of a three-year deal before being released. He then played three seasons at the Wests Tigers.

But in 2018 he played just five games. His last appearance was in round 15 in mid-June.

Last Thursday he played his first game for 2019 when he started at prop against the Sharks, announcing his return with the opening try of the match in Penrith's 24-20 loss.

"Getting the monkey off the back was good but I'd trade that [try] any day for a win," Grant said of his team squandering a 20-6 second-half lead.

"Still it's been a long-time coming getting back in this jersey but it also feels like I haven't left now that I've settled in.

"It just feels like I've re-wound four years and I'm back to where I started."

And he is indeed back in the starting side, relegating Reagan Campbell-Gillard to the bench.

"I don't really care. In the modern game it's a 17-man team. Some of the greatest strike weapons in our game come off the bench – that's their role," Grant said.

"Anywhere I can play for the team I'll play. To be honest it's more about how I can contribute week-in, week-out and see where that takes me."

Grant is taking that same attitude to his contract. He is off contract at the end of 2019 and isn't bogged down by what the future holds.

"I haven't really thought about that," the 31-year-old said.

"I'm just happy to be here at the moment. It depends how I feel at the end of the season.

"I've had Ivan as my coach for a good portion of my career and I've spoken to him about the transition after footy.

"So it's a matter of collectively getting advice off people that I trust and Ivan is one of them.

"It will be a natural decision when I sit down with my partner and consider the options. I love the game and my body feels right.

"So it will be how I'm contributing to the club and also what life after footy looks like as well."

Skipper James Tamou is one glad to see Grant back in the NRL side.

"Big TG, he brings a lot to the team," Tamou said.

"He's the same, being a veteran and well-respected. And he's still got a lot to give."