Wish granted: Penrith prop excited to face Storm
Rip and tear … Tim Grant against Canterbury in March. Photo: Getty Images
DESPITE his side languishing at the wrong end of the ladder, Penrith prop Tim Grant cannot wait to take on unbeaten Melbourne tonight.
The Storm will arrive at Centrebet Stadium on the back of eight successive victories and represent a formidable proposition for an injury-hit Panthers side that have lost their past four matches and sit third-last.
But Grant, who returned to action last Monday against Newcastle after a calf problem sustained in the opening round of the season, said the challenge of facing Craig Bellamy's star-studded side is something to relish and not fear.
''I've always enjoyed playing against Melbourne,'' Grant said. ''You want the chance to play against guys like Cameron Smith and Billy Slater - two of the best players in the world - and test yourself.''
Grant, 24, is regarded as one of the best young props in the game and has been talked up as a future NSW representative. He was named in the Kangaroos' train-on squad for last year's Four Nations tournament after chalking up 23 appearances in 2011 - the most since his making his debut in 2007 - and has played twice for the City Origin side.
But helping Penrith climb the table right now is more important to him than his representative ambitions - a trait he picked up from former Panthers skipper Petero Civoniceva.
Grant very much looked up to the Queensland and Kangaroos veteran front-rower before his move back to Brisbane and counts him as one of the biggest influences of his career.
But don't expect him to spill the beans about what he learned from one the greats about the art of being a world class front-rower.
''I am not going to say what I learned from Petero on the field as I wouldn't want everyone to know,'' Grant said. ''But for a young prop to watch how he carried himself off the field, the way he trained and looked after himself, you couldn't wish for a better role model.''