Impressive Melbourne Storm youngster Harry Grant has vowed to remain patient as he heads into another season knowing he's unlikely to see regular game time at NRL level, due to the club's embarrassment of riches at hooker.
After starting Saturday's trial against the Warriors at dummy-half, Grant was one of the standout players in an 18-16 victory for the Storm in Palmerston North, scoring the opening try and earning praise from assistant coach Marc Brentnall for his efforts in defence.
Following the NRL's blocking of a proposed player swap involving Grant and Wests Tigers centre Paul Momirovski – a deal which would likely have seen Grant slot straight into the NRL line-up – the 22-year-old now faces another season stuck behind Cameron Smith and Brandon Smith as the Storm's third-choice hooker.
But while disappointed the Tigers deal didn't eventuate, Grant said he's happy to continue to bide his time in the Queensland Cup for the time being.
"Obviously it was an exciting time for me, the prospect of playing a bit more NRL," Grant said.
"But in saying that I am keen to learn as much as I can off Cameron Smith and Craig Bellamy.
Match Highlights: Warriors v Storm
"I'm in a good system, I'll go back and play Q Cup and just work on my trade.
"I feel like I am ready [for NRL] now definitely. But the thing is you can always build on your performances and that's just what I am going to try and do this year.
"Hopefully when I do get NRL time I just go out there and make the most of it.
"I am as patient as they come, and I have shown that over the past couple of years."
Grant opened the scoring on 11 minutes against the Warriors, looping around back-rower Tom Eisenhuth to collect an offload and cross out wide, in a match where the Storm struck with eight minutes to go to claim a two-point victory.
Standing in as the side's head coach while Bellamy watched on from Australia, Brentnall was full praise for Grant post match.
"Very good, outstanding, he's a clever player and did a good job for us tonight," Brentnall said.
"Some of his efforts – I think he chased down someone on a line break there and ran 50 or 60 metres – and that's just what Harry does every day at training.
"Harry always shows a good attitude. You wouldn't know that anything is going on with the swap.
"He's committed to the club."
Grant wasn't the only young Melbourne spine member to shine in Palmerston North, with fullback Nicho Hynes and halfback Cooper Johns also putting in impressive shifts.
Hynes had a hand in two tries – helping set up Johns late in the second quarter before laying on the match-winner for Chris Lewis – while Johns kicked well and looked comfortable managing the game alongside Ryley Jacks in the halves.
"Nicho had a couple of errors around him today … [but] it's a good sign that he picked himself up after those first couple of errors and ended up setting up the winning try at the end there," Brentnall said.
"We have got high hopes for Nicho. Obviously he is behind Paps [Ryan Papenhuyzen] at the moment, but we want him putting pressure on Paps for that first grade spot.
"I thought Coops and Jacksy did a great job controlling the game tonight.
"We have got some good depth there."