The ageless Cameron Smith could deny Harry Grant regular NRL action next season, but the promising hooker won't be pressuring "the GOAT" to retire.
Grant, playing at the Wests Tigers on a one-year loan arrangement from Melbourne, was outstanding in Saturday's 36-20 win over North Queensland with a hand in two tries.
Melbourne are steadfast in their belief that Grant will return to them in 2021, but he reportedly has a get-out clause in his contract if 37-year-old Smith decides to continue his illustrious career.
The Storm also have versatile Kiwi Test hooker Brandon Smith. Grant, however, isn't concerned with anything beyond this year.
"That's for the future, mate. Cam's the GOAT [Greatest of All Time] - whatever he wants to do, he can do," the 22-year-old said after his man of the match display at Campbelltown Stadium.
"I'll just take it as it comes and just focus week in, week out on what we're building here at the Tigers.
Match Highlights: Wests Tigers v Cowboys
"I'm pretty grateful that I'm playing NRL. I just want to play footy and compete. That's my focus at the moment.
"Coming into a team environment where everyone's got the same focus - it's a pretty special thing."
Tigers coach Michael Maguire wouldn't be drawn on whether his club could try to keep Grant past 2020.
"We've got him for this year and we understood that when we first went through it," Maguire said.
"We just keep playing game by game, watching Harry grow and be a part of it this year.
The Wests Tigers just keep producing unbelievable team tries
"Our biggest focus is on the now and what we’re doing this year. What happens down the track, those sorts of things work themselves out."
Grant said he shared strong relationships with many Melbourne players and remained in regular contact with them.
"Not that I talk tactics, I just talk to them to catch up and see how they're travelling, especially during this last two months," he said.
"It's sort of been a tough slog [due to the COVID-19 pandemic]. It can be a real downer. [I'm] just making sure that I'm there for my mates."
The Queensland-born rake has played 80 minutes two weeks in a row and is adjusting nicely. He churned out 42 tackles against the Cowboys but was electric in attack, running for 112 metres.
"It's just getting used to the speed and finding little ways to control your energy, rather than burning yourself out in the first five minutes," Grant said.
"I was very gassed tonight but it's just what you've gotta do."
The Tigers exploded out of the blocks to equal their biggest half-time lead of 34 points on Saturday night.
But Grant believes their defence was equally impressive.
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"The Cowboys had plenty of sets on our goal-line and we turned them away numerous times," he said.
"We sort of just got the rewards. If we can stick at that week in, week out - no matter how many points we score - we'll be a very happy footy side defending our goal-line."
Grant took a leaf from Maguire's book in saying there was still lots of work to be done after the Tigers eased their foot off the pedal.
"He's a very good bloke. He's got a good personal relationship with all the boys," Grant said of Maguire.
"He's a very one-on-one coach and you can sort of pick up what he wants from you through those conversations and the way he coaches you on the field.
"[I'm] building a good relationship with him which is good."