Granville rel­ishes Smith duel

Dalby Herald - - SPORT - Michael Thomp­son Townsville Bul­letin

PUN­DITS are rat­ing Sun­day’s NRL grand fi­nal be­tween the Cow­boys and Storm as a bat­tle be­tween David and Go­liath, and Cow­boys rake Jake Granville will have his own Go­liath to tackle.

Granville will go head to head with Mel­bourne hooker and fu­ture rugby league Im­mor­tal Cameron Smith in what could be one of Sun­day’s de­ci­sive in­di­vid­ual du­els.

There is no doubt in Granville’s mind that Smith is the NRL’s best player.

“At the mo­ment he is, he just con­trols the game so well,” Granville said.

“We’ll have to be at our best to try and limit his op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“It’s a bit un­real to be play­ing against a player like Cam Smith in a grand fi­nal, he’s such a big-game player and a leg­end of the game.”

But Granville is also a force to be reck­oned with, and like Smith knows how to win a grand fi­nal.

He was the man who steered North Queens­land around the ruck dur­ing the 2015 de­cider, and dur­ing the big­gest mo­ment in Cow­boys his­tory he de­liv­ered a per­fect pass from dummy half to al­low Johnathan Thurston to boot his golden-point field goal.

His de­fence has been on point dur­ing the Cow­boys fi­nals’ charge, but Granville’s run­ning game has also been pick­ing up steam and it was his go-for­ward that helped North Queens­land dom­i­nate ter­ri­tory in last week­end’s pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal win over the Roost­ers.

“I haven’t been at my at­tack­ing best but I’ve tried to work on my com­po­sure and stuff and try to help Morgs (Michael Mor­gan) as much as I can and get the team around the park,” Granville (pic­tured) said.

“Every­one’s been do­ing their job there and it’s a mas­sive loss hav­ing JT out, but Morgo’s step­ping up in that role and gone to an­other level.

“Cootey (Lach­lan Coote) does a mas­sive ef­fort there tak­ing a bit of pres­sure of Morgs and Te (Maire Martin), and we’re all work­ing well to­gether.”

The tal­ented North Queens­land spine takes on the NRL’s best in Storm quar­tet Smith, Billy Slater, Cameron Mun­ster and Cooper Cronk, and Granville re­spects them ac­cord­ingly.

“We’re go­ing to have to go to an­other level from last week,” he said.

“They’re one of those sides that can con­trol the game re­ally well and we’ll have to match them in that area.”

Granville, 28, is now one of the more ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers in coach Paul Green’s 17 and has urged the group’s younger, less ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers to en­joy the grand fi­nal ride.

“It’s such an ex­cit­ing time for them and it is im­por­tant to em­brace it and not just get ner­vous and play the game in your head be­fore Sun­day,” he said.

“You just take it as it comes and re­lax when it’s time not to talk about footy.”

PHOTO: AAP

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