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Jamie Soward 'a good bloke', says Tim Grant of new mateship at Penrith after Kokoda trip

Improvising: New Penrith  pivot Jamie Soward takes a break from the club's Kokoda trek to line up a shot, to the delight of these PNG village children.

Improvising: New Penrith pivot Jamie Soward takes a break from the club's Kokoda trek to line up a shot, to the delight of these PNG village children.

Trekking the Kokoda Track for up to 16 hours a day not only provided Penrith prop Tim Grant with a deeper appreciation for the Diggers who helped halt the Japanese invasions of World War II, but it allowed him and new teammate Jamie Soward to form a bond that promises to give the Panthers an extra edge.

Grant, Soward and their coach, Ivan Cleary, accompanied seven teenagers from the western suburbs on a trip intended to honour the feats of those soldiers who, in 1942, made a stand in one of the most inhospitable places on Earth.

The trio feature in the soon-to-be-released documentary Kokoda: In the Footsteps of the Brave, which is narrated by Penrith executive general manager Phil Gould and details the numerous challenges the group - drawn from Panthers on the Prowl, the community arm of the NRL club - faced as they completed what was normally a 10-day expedition in six.

Grant said the challenges helped him to forge a friendship with Soward, the former St George Illawarra pivot, because he displayed all the qualities of a ''good bloke'' even in the most trying of Papua New Guinea's conditions.

''He's a good bloke, nothing was too hard for him at all,'' said Grant of his new mate's approach. ''He's a real competitor and brings to us direction and leadership; things we need. He's the man for the job - along with Peter Wallace who has really stepped up at training. We had a number of good chats on Kokoda and found we have a lot in common.''

Grant learnt Soward boasted a huge supporter base in a remote village when he was urged by the locals to take a few kicks at goal in his muddied hiking boots.

''Jamie had a couple of shots,'' Grant said. ''They all wanted to know how he lined up the ball so he put on a show for the village and they loved it.''

Grant will open his season on Saturday when he packs down against Wests Tigers in a trial match at Camden.

4 comments so far

  • All the hype about Soward before a ball is kicked off for round 1,puts a lot of pressure on the bloke..

    And we all know how Soward handles pressure

    Commenter
    Funny Phil
    Location
    Emu Planes
    Date and time
    February 05, 2014, 12:16AM
    • Led the Dragons to a premiership, wouldn't trust a player more to land a field goal at the death to win a game so I say he handles it quite well. Not looking forward to when he takes on the Dragons...

      Commenter
      soward fan
      Date and time
      February 05, 2014, 8:08AM
      • I'm afraid his best days are behind him.

        Commenter
        matt
        Date and time
        February 05, 2014, 9:44PM
    • Soward will be around long after Price is forgotten.
      Have a good one Jamie.

      Commenter
      Old Kogarah Boy ..........
      Date and time
      February 05, 2014, 4:11PM

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