It was reported on Wednesday morning that the Wests Tigers and the Melbourne Storm are ironing out the final details of a swap deal that would send young Queensland Hooker Harry Grant to Concord in exchange for Paul Momirovski for 1 year respectively.
This concept, which is still awaiting NRL approval, would be a first for the game locally, but it’s very common in English sport such as the EPL and Super League.
With so many things to unpack in this scenario, here is my first reaction to the news.
Why this deal has the potential to be a stroke of genius from Justin Pascoe and Michael Maguire.
For the Tigers, this deal solves the biggest attacking worry I had going into the 2020 season.
If no more signings are made, I really wasn’t sure who in the current squad could replace Robbie Farah’s influence from 2019.
The Tigers legend showed first-hand the benefits of having an elite hooker in a starting team and just how much it can improve the overall attack of a side.
Farah’s impact after signing mid-way through the 2018 season was immediate and I was very worried that the Tigers attacking game would suffer as a result of his retirement because options such as Moses Mybe, Josh Reynolds and Billy Walters just don’t have the experience and creativity around the ruck which can only be developed if a player spends regular time at Hooker.
For Tigers fans who are unaware, Harry Grant has been labeled by many as the best number 9 prospect in the country that is yet to play regular NRL minutes which is only because he is playing behind a future immortal and the greatest of all time in Cameron Smith.
If anyone has Twitter, I would highly encourage Tigers fans to follow NBWT as their content is very good. NBWT posted Harry Grant’s Intrust Cup stats from 2019 and they are off the charts. In 22 games, Grant registered 14 tries, 18 line breaks, 21 try assists, 22-line break assists while averaging 99.9 running metres per game while also maintaining a 91% tackle efficiency.
If these numbers don’t blow you away, they should. If Grant makes the move to Concord, he will 100 percent be the best Hooker at the club and the Tigers chances of making the eight will dramatically increase which is why this could be a very smart move from Tigers management even if it is only for a year.
I have no doubt that Grant will be one of the breakout stars of the NRL in 2020. With this addition and the possible signing of Adam Doueihi, The Tigers would have one of the better spines in the competition and would absolutely mean that the Tigers are a better team compared to 2019.
This move should also prove to Tigers fans that the club is 100 percent invested in making the top 8 in 2020 rather than using the excuse of building towards the future that a lot of sporting teams seem to fall back on these days.
The downside of the deal.
Although there is no doubt that Grant is an exceptional talent, the reality of the deal is that he is very much a rental for the Tigers as he contracted to the Storm for another 3 years.
On the other hand, Momirovski comes off-contract at the end of 2020 and is therefore free to negotiate with other clubs.
Despite reports stating that the Tigers are trying to lock up Momirovski long term, the chances of the Centre coming back to the club after spending a season at Melbourne under Craig Bellamy are extremely unlikely.
The chances of Grant staying at the Tigers, on the other hand, are very low due to the fact that it is more than likely that Cameron Smith will retire at the end of the year leaving a vacant hooking position available at the Storm.
So the Tigers are basically giving up one of their best young prospects and best goal kicker for 1 year of Harry Grant.
My main concern with the deal, however, is that the Tigers are left without a quality goal-kicker for 2020 which can often determine if a team plays finals footy or not.
In my opinion, this deal makes signing Doueihi even more of a priority due to his ability to kick goals.
I’m in favor of this deal simply because Harry Grant makes the Tigers a better team however the loss of Momirovski shouldn’t be underestimated as he is a quality player that will no doubt excel in Melbourne.
(Image courtesy: NRL.com)