It’s been the better part of half a decade since Orange City junior Jack Grant last played in his hometown, so as you can imagine, he’s pumped up tighter than a beach ball to run out at Wade Park in this weekend’s Intrust Super Shute Shield clash.
Grant made his return from a knee dislocation from the bench in Eastern Suburbs’ thrilling 24-22 loss to reigning Shute Shield champions Northern Suburbs last weekend and has been lifted into the Beasties starting XV for Saturday’s round seven encounter with Gordon.
“I came off the bench last weekend and it was sweet so the knee’s good to go,” Grant said.
“It’s been four or five years since I’ve played in Orange, I know a lot of the family are coming out for it so it’ll be good to get out and have a run in front of family and my mates from back there.”
The St Stanislaus College student will don No.9 for Eastern Suburbs on Saturday, in a virtually must-win game for the side.
Eastern Suburbs are one and five through six rounds, but as Grant said the Beasties have had arguably the toughest draw of any club so far.
So far this season, they’ve faced both of last year’s grand finalists in Sydney University and Norths along with the undefeated Manly Marlins, and top five sides Eastwood and Randwick.
“We’ve pretty much played all the top sides so far so we’ve had a tough start to the season, but we have still only won one game,” Grant, a former NSW Country colt, said.
“Because of that it is a pretty big game for us. Gordon, I guess, are in a pretty similar position to us and we normally have really good games against Gordon so it should be a pretty good one, good to watch.
“We were pretty good against Norths last weekend, so I’m confident if we build on that we can get the result and maybe get a roll on too.”
For Grant personally, the plan is pretty simple.
“Just giving quick, clean ball really, that’s what I need to be doing,” Grant said.
It’s been four or five years since I’ve played in Orange ... so it’ll be good to get out and have a run in front of family and my mates.Jack Grant
“As a halfback I want to be getting our forwards on the front foot and giving them good ball will do that. Obviously I’ll look to get out a bit, and then just talk really.”
Saturday’s Shute Shield fixture kicks off at 3pm at Wade Park, followed by the all-Orange Blowes Clothing Cup derby at 4.50pm.
As an Orange City junior, Grant will obviously be supporting the Lions.
“I can’t wait to watch the Orange City and Emus game, I’ve got a few mates still running around for the Lions so I’m looking forward to that too,” he enthused. Grant is one of three Orange products in Easts’ side, along with Archie Hall and Kinross alumnus Ned Yeomans.