It was rather fitting that Melbourne Storm player #222 Grant Anderson scored two tries and made two line breaks on his debut at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday night.
And while the late great Richie Benaud wasn’t on hand to call player "tchoo twenty tchoo’s" marvellous game, a vocal group of family and friends were in the stands cheering him on which led to emotional scenes after the game.
Anderson was the beneficiary of a rejuvenated Felise Kaufusi who produced a great pass for his first NRL try in the first half. His second try off a sublime Jahrome Hughes cut-out pass gave the Storm the lead in the see-sawing contest - a lead they wouldn’t surrender to secure their 10th win of the season.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy said Anderson was the “last man standing” as the Storm face an injury crisis in the outside backs which saw the club sign Young Tonumaipea during the week.
“When Xavier [Coates] went down on Wednesday, we were looking at probably putting in Will Warbrick but he hurt his calf early in the week,” Bellamy said.
Dream debut for Grant Anderson
“He's [Anderson] been down a few times to train with us, but with all due respect we’ve never really thought ‘we’ll put him in this week' because we probably haven’t seen the need.I know his handy player but he’s basically a centre; that’s his preferred position.
"He hasn’t had an easy run but he did a great job tonight.”
Bellamy was full of praise for his patched-up three-quarter line who more than held their own against the Roosters representative backline.
Led by the experienced Justin Olam (18 runs for 191 metres), Anderson, Marion Seve (two tires, three line breaks), Dean Ieremia (12 runs for 157 metres, one line break) and Nick Meaney (16 runs for 122-metres, one try assist and one vital try saver on Joseph Suaalii) epitomised the Storm’s next man up mentality.
Meaney does enough to stop Suaalii
All four players [Meaney played five-eighth for the suspended Cameron Munster] were not part of the Storm first choice 17 for round one.
Long-term injuries to Coates, George Jennings, Reimis Smith and Ryan Papenhuyzen has given opportunities for the likes of Anderson who came down to train with the Storm from the Sunshine Coast Falcons over the Origin period.
Bellamy said it was Seve’s ‘best game he has played” for the club.
“He hasn’t been a regular; I think he has lacked a bit of confidence around that," he said.
"I think he has played four or five games now and he has done some really good things but at other times his concentration has probably dropped a touch but today he got his concentration on right from the start and kept it for 80-minutes.
"He played really well.”
Bellamy confirmed Coates (ankle) will have surgery on Monday and likely miss eight weeks. He also said Papenhuyzen (hamstring) has returned to training but wouldn’t be risked if not 100 per cent against the Broncos in round 15 with another week off for Origin the following week.