Storm skipper Grant expects speedster Fa’alogo to shine

Melissa Woods |

Harry Grant is backing Sua Fa’alogo (pic) to star at fullback when he runs out for the Storm.
Harry Grant is backing Sua Fa’alogo (pic) to star at fullback when he runs out for the Storm.

Melbourne skipper Harry Grant expects Sua Fa’alogo to handle his first start at fullback with aplomb after being mentored by two of the best in the business.

Fa’alogo was handed the No.1 jersey in the absence of the injured Ryan Papenhuyzen with the Storm hosting Cronulla in a top-of-the-table blockbuster at AAMI Park on Saturday night.

The light-footed and skilful 21-year-old has already demonstrated his attacking prowess to bag three tries in his only two NRL matches.

Grant believes he will be up to the defensive workload at fullback after learning under Papenhuyzen and retired Storm great Billy Slater.

“It is a big job and that’s probably an underrated strength of Paps (Papenhuyzen), how he organises our defensive line,” Grant said on Wednesday.

“But Sua has had some good mentors the last couple of years and he’s spent a fair bit of time working alongside and underneath Paps and Billy (Slater) and Means (Nick Meaney) as well, and that was the strength of his as well.

“He’s had a fair bit of time learning his trade and putting that into his tool belt and it’s just about him doing it now and we can obviously help him too by giving him our full attention when we’re coming out of tackles and stuff like that.”

Playing for Australia, Grant opposed Fa’alogo who was part of the Samoan side at last year’s Pacific Nations and saw what a handful he could be.

“I remember playing him up in Townsville last year in the Pacific Nations and the last thing I wanted was for him to have the ball in his hands because there was a lot of fatigue there and he was very dangerous,” the star hooker said.

Grant said while the Victorian-born and raised Fa’alogo looked a natural, he had worked hard to improve his elusiveness and speed.

“That’s his strength and a lot of people probably don’t see how much time and effort he puts into that.

“He realises that’s a really big strength of his game that he can bring to the team and he works extremely hard on it and I don’t think it comes easy for him.

“He always looks to get better in that way and also other ways of his game and he does the little things well too.”