“He told me on the weekend, ‘because they were chanting my name [at Leichhardt], does that mean I’m the king?’
“He acts quiet and shy but behind the scenes he gives it to us. It was Josh Reynolds who started that chant [Friday night].
“He had a lot of raps coming here, there was a lot of pressure on him to perform coming straight into first grade, but he’s delivered.
“We play a style that suits his game, he gets out and runs a bit, he threatens the line – he’s been our best player.
“He’s grown into the fan favourite. Fans want to see players who actually go out and have a dig, and every game he’s making tackles and putting something on in our attack and he does all the little things – if they make a break, he makes the cover tackles.”
Tigers officials have been impressed by how Grant has taken things in his stride.
Moving to Sydney from Melbourne and seeing his profile soar could have presented challenges, but the youngster has not bought into the hype.
After the last round, he was one point clear on the Dally M leaderboard and could become the first rookie since Michael Potter in 1984 to win the prestigious gong.
“He won’t say it but he analyses the game really closely, about how he can manipulate the ruck – he’s smart in that area and brings a lot to the table when we talk about our game plan,” Marshall said.
“He’s an undercover footy head who pretends he’s just this surfy guy.”
The Tigers No.9 jersey was made famous by Robbie Farah who played with a broken leg during his Leichhardt Oval farewell last season. It remains to be seen if Grant will play on next year or return to Melbourne.
Manly legend Steve Menzies gave Grant three Dally M points after the Bulldogs game a few weeks ago and said: “He’s quality; his timing, when to run, his toughness … he’s got great awareness and knowledge. He’s been super exciting for the Tigers.”
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.