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Maroons debutant Harry Grant credits an ingrained mental strength for his rise from a near-death experience as a youth to the State of Origin arena.

The 22-year-old will wear the number 14 jersey in the series decider at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night after fighting his way back from the brink.

Earlier this year Harry's father Paul Grant told The Australian how his son had nearly died as a 12-year-old after a staph infection saw him in intensive care in hospital and on his death bed.

The rising St Brendan's College Yeppoon star underwent three operations and was on antibiotics for five months, and then tipped over an all-terrain vehicle on the beach and suffered a shocking compound fracture of the leg.

He missed two years of rugby league in his formative years but what didn't kill him made him stronger.

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"I've been through a little bit of adversity when I was younger, but I think there's a lot of people that have gone through worse," Grant said before Maroons training on Sunday. 

"I guess everything happens for a reason. So I sort of just put that behind me. I always try and look at the positives that come out of it.

"I think I was pretty mentally strong before that, which probably helped me through that time.

"I missed a few years of footy. I was probably oblivious at the time. I probably didn't really understand the severity of it.

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"In saying that I had passions away from footy which was surfing and surf lifesaving. Those kind of things helped me. Having that passion away from footy, which I still do now, helps me to get away from it."

Grant was loaned to Wests Tigers by the Storm this year and had a breakout season on the way to being named Dally M rookie of the year.

He said being in Camp Maroon the last few weeks had "made it a whole lot easier" to get the call-up from Wayne Bennett into a side whose rich history he has absorbed.

"I first started idolising Alfie and then Locky and then obviously guys like Cam and Billy and JT. There's so many great Queenslanders that we had the privilege to look up to as they were going through their dynasty," Grant said.

"It's pretty special to be around some of those guys now. I'm just excited for Wednesday night.

"A State of Origin game is a whole lot different to clubland. I'm not sure on my role yet. I'll probably just go out there and try not to let anyone down and just do my teammates and my state proud.

"I played a little bit in the halves during my junior career. Whether it's halves, lock, hooker, we'll see what Wayne has planned."

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Grant will return to the Storm next year after initially being signed by recruitment chief Paul Bunn, who has been a close friend of the Grant family since Harry's junior days in Rockhampton.

"Harry was a 12-year-old kid when he told me 'I want to play first grade'," Bunn told NRL.com.

"I was at the Broncos then but I told him that wherever I was I would sign him because I used to watch him when he was a kid and he was a genius in the backyard with his brothers.

"We kept in touch because I have always been friends with his mum and dad and all the family.

"When he was 16 and I was at the Storm we just kept monitoring him through St Brendan's coach Terry Hansen, and kept in touch.

"Even though he played in the Queensland Schoolboys opens we had bugger all opposition to signing him. It was a rails run.

"Since he came to the Storm, Cameron Smith has done a really good job with him. He won't want me to make a big deal of it, but he has."

Grant is a hooker like his father Paul Grant was in his playing days. Bunn said Paul could have played first grade himself at the highest level but for injury.

"I actually brought his dad down to Redcliffe when I was the development officer there," Bunn said.

"Paul played two trials and absolutely brained them but damaged nerve endings in his shoulder and his whole shoulder caved in, and he had to give it away.

"He would have played in the NSW Rugby League back in the early 1990s for sure if not for injury.

"Harry and his old man play the same way. They are always on the ball, choose the right time to go from dummy half and have a good pass from dummy half.

"Harry is a chip off the old block we reckon. We just reckon he has his mum's speed."

Harry said his father had been a great sounding board throughout his career. Paul Grant and more than 20 family members will be on hand at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night. Harry is just hoping his father will be wearing maroon colours.

"He was probably a lot tougher and grubbier than I was back in the day, when hookers used to get flogged in the scrum," Harry grinned when asked about his dad's playing style.

"He's definitely helped me a lot over the years. He's still up to date with the game, and how it's evolving. He gave me a fair bit.

"He's going to come down from Yeppoon. He's actually from New South Wales originally. He said if I get a run this series that he was going to turn so I hope to see him in maroon."

 

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