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Sport Michael Maguire hits back at Cooper Cronk's calls for Harry Grant to return to Melbourne

09:51  03 july  2020
09:51  03 july  2020 Source:   sportingnews.com

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Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire has backed Harry Grant to handle the NRL spotlight after creating State of Origin buzz with his debut for the joint venture. Maguire said the 22-year-old would not be used to the spotlight after spending the previous two seasons at AFL-mad Melbourne before

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Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire has hit back at Cooper Cronk's comments that Harry Grant should return to Melbourne to advance his career.

A Storm product, Grant joined the Tigers before the NRL went into lockdown in a loaned swap deal that also involved Paul Momirovski, with both players expected to return to their respective clubs at season's end.

Grant has been a revelation in his five games for Michael Maguire's side, his form so good he currently sits in second spot on the Dally M leaderboard behind Jason Taumalolo, while he's also been floated as a potential Queensland Origin bolter in his first full season in the NRL.

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Maguire has already compared Grant to Cameron Smith and if he brings just half of Smith' s ability it could However, Grant is ready to bleed orange and black to help lead the Wests Tigers to finals footy in "It' s a trade, [I'm] expecting to return back to Melbourne [at the end of the year]," Grant admitted.

Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire has urged the NRL to introduce a loan system having seen it With Grant stuck behind Cameron Smith and Brandon Smith in Melbourne ' s pecking order, the The proposed trade was set to only be for the 2020 season, with both players to return to their respective

There is reportedly a clause in Grant's contract that enables him to join another club in 2021 if Cameron Smith chooses to play on beyond this season.

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And with the Storm skipper's decision over his plans for next season still unknown, speculation is rapidly circulating regarding Grant's next movements.

It's the belief of Cooper Cronk that Grant should return to Melbourne regardless of whether Smith plays on next season.

The two-time premiership winner with the Storm was quoted by The Daily Telegraph suggesting Grant's career wouldn't reach the same heights at the Tigers than if he were to return to Melbourne.

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Melbourne hooker Harry Grant has requested an immediate release in a bid to join Wests Tigers for the upcoming season. The Storm have yet to come back to Grant with a definitive call , but there is little chance he will be let go while Brandon Smith is unavailable.

The ongoing feud between former Melbourne Storm teammates Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith remains as bitter as ever - and one photo from Sunday night's grand Cameron Smith was a no-show at Cooper Cronk ' s wedding to Tara Rushton (pictured) on Sydney's northern beaches late last year.

“I’m happy to say on record that if I went to some other clubs I would have been a 100 or 150-gamer at best,” Cronk said.

“But because I landed at [some good clubs] particularly Melbourne Storm at first … the work ethic and the resources they gave me, I was able to achieve things I never thought were possible.

“For Harry Grant, if the situation comes up, find the club that you think is going to make you become a better person and footy player.”

And made aware of the retired legend's comments, Maguire said Cronk wasn't aware of the inroads the Tigers were making as a club.

"Coops is not aware of what's going on in this club," he said.

"There's a lot of things shifting in this club and everywhere around the club we're in a changing place.

"You can see that by the dedication the players have every single day at training and that's the key to the successful clubs that I've been around.

"I've seen that club that he's talking about [Melbourne], where it's started together with where it's got to and we're no different, we're chasing that very fast.

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Maguire insisted external commentary surrounding his side wasn't a concern and offered further incentive for his side to continue their rise.

"I'm not really concerned about what other people around [have to say]," Maguire doubled down.

"I've got a lot of respect for Coops too, by the way. I've been able to work with him [as an assistant coach at the Storm] and he understands what it takes to change a club because he's been through it.

"I'm sure he's just making comment around his experiences. At the end of the day, I'm very aware of what's going on in this club."

With Grant's whereabouts next season still a way off from being known, there are reports the Canterbury Bulldogs have had a sniff around the 22-year-old hooker.

The Wests Tigers, currently sitting in sixth on the ladder, will face the Panthers on Saturday in what will be the biggest test for the club since the season returned.

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