After a decorated career that includes two appearances for the NSW Blues, an Australian jumper for the Prime Ministers XIII and 200 NRL games, prop Tim Grant is now hoping to lead the Thirroul Butchers to success in the Presidents Cup.
Thirroul is one of nine teams competing in the Presidents Cup, a unique semi-professional competition involving Sydney metropolitan and regional NSW teams which was formed for the 2020 season because of COVID-19 complications.
The Butchers enjoyed success over local rivals Wests Illawarra in Round One with a 22-16 win, had a bye in Round Two and this week will host the North Sydney Bears on Saturday with coach Jarrod Costello stating his team was looking forward to the challenge.
“The club and all the players really see it as a great opportunity for us, and to play against a club as big as and with as much history as Norths do, it’s something we’re really excited for and can’t wait to jump on the bus and come up on Saturday,” Costello said.
“It’s unknown to us so that in itself breeds a bit of excitement for us and we know the teams we’re playing against are really good opposition, they have a high standard and that I think has motivated our guys to try and put their best foot forward against these sides and compete with them.”
The Illawarra-based side have got a host of talent in their ranks, with Damian Sironen – the nephew of Balmain Tigers legend Paul Sironen – as their captain, Canterbury Cup player Leigh Higgins and now Grant.
“Leigh Higgins played for us in 2016 and 2018 and then went to South Sydney last year and has come back on board - he played a whole season of Canterbury Cup for Souths last year,” Costello said.
“Tim’s been outstanding, he’s been so good to have around our club as a whole and all the younger players really love playing with him.
“They bring a lot of leadership, they’re experienced and calm under pressure and that rubs off on a lot of the younger guys, especially as were playing against an unfamiliar opposition, so having those guys there it just stabilises the younger guys a little bit.”
As well as the NRL talent, Costello is eager to see some of the local talent from the side combine against a North Sydney team that boasts Canterbury Cup stars like Bradley Deitz, James Tuitahi and Tom Freebairn.
“We’ve got our two back rowers who have been great throughout our extended pre-season, that’s Luke Dodge and Jack Noble – they’ve been two local guys that have been stalwarts around our forward pack the last couple of years and they’ve been outstanding,” Costello said.
“Riley Lord is another one of our front rowers who is a local junior that has really improved this year and is doing great things so I’m really looking forward to watching those guys go.”
“Connor Muhleisen is another one of those guys who has come through SG Ball and the Under-20s with the Dragons and he’s a great player, he’s got a really big future so he’s another one I’m really looking forward to seeing play.”
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