Melbourne Storm hooker Harry Grant opens up on aborted swap with Wests Tigers centre Paul Momirovski


“It’s obviously hard when you look at the player welfare side of things. You rock up to training every day and give your best but there’s still that little thought in the back of your mind whether you’ll be there the next day or not.”

Grant was poised to be part of an historic “loan” arrangement that would have resulted in a player swap with Wests Tigers centre Paul Momirovski for the 2020 season before the players returned to their original clubs in November.

Harry Grant has opened up about his unusual playing predicament.Credit:NRL Photos

The pair have been in limbo for the last month as they awaited an official decision from the NRL, who this week finally blocked the move because it ruled it would have put the Storm over the salary cap.

The decision is a hammer blow for Grant. While Momirovski is guaranteed a starting NRL spot regardless of whether he’s at the Storm or Tigers, Grant’s first-grade progression is blocked by hooking teammates Cameron Smith and Brandon Smith in Victoria, limiting his chances of adding to his two first-grade appearances.

Speaking for the first time about his predicament, Grant hoped the NRL would tinker its transfer rules to allow developing players better avenues to first-grade football.

“I hope somehow they can look back over the decision,” Grant told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

“This should be something that we can do. It’s not like we’re both marquee players … me and Paul are just a couple of minimum-wage players looking for an opportunity to develop as footballers. Both clubs would benefit.

“I reckon going forward there might be some rules they might change or put in place.

“If you’re swapping players on a similar amount of money, it gives more opportunity. I don’t think one club is benefiting more than the other, everyone is on par.

“It’s not a way to try to rort the salary cap and get a win, it’s two clubs trying to develop players and fill holes in their roster.”

There is another intriguing twist in Grant’s playing future. Although he is contracted to the Storm until the end of 2023, he has a get-out clause if Cameron Smith plays on next year.

“The thing is Cameron is still playing and training the best he ever has, he could keep playing for another two, three or four years,” Grant said.

“If I get to the end of this year and Cameron is still playing, I’ll have to look at my options.”

Despite being one of the most promising young hookers in the game, Grant will be forced to bide his time playing in the Queensland Cup if an alternate arrangement can’t be struck. The 21-year-old hopes the Storm will release him to the Tigers to benefit his development, even if they don’t get Momirovski back in return.

“For my development, I believe the next step for me is to play NRL and unfortunately I won’t get too many games at Melbourne,” Grant said.

“I’m hoping for [a release]. As selfless as it would be for the club, long-term it would benefit the club.

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“I’m open to it, the Tigers are open to it but whether the Storm is, I’d have to sit down and have a chat with [coach] Craig Bellamy and [CEO] Dave [Donaghy]. I don’t know how it works, if I go now they might have to sign a new player and be in the same boat (with the salary cap).

“What I need now development-wise is to play footy at a higher level at NRL. I might have to chase that elsewhere and the Tigers is a good opportunity for both parties.”

Grant and Momirovski have formed a bond during their ordeals. They once roomed together in camp ahead of a Nines tournament and the plan was for Momirovski to move into Grant’s Melbourne unit if the transfer went ahead.

“We have formed a bit of a relationship and chat here and there if we have any info for each other,” Grant said.

“I have been getting called ‘Paul’ a bit by the boys at training.”

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