Quality leader Grant will keep pushing to lift NNK
Things finally starting to look up after WP Emerging squad recognition
WHEN the final whistle sounded to announce NNK’s first win of the 2016 Super League A season against Belhar this past weekend, the men from Parow celebrated like they just won gold at the Rugby World Cup.
And right in the thick of things was captain and No 8 Brandon Grant. He is that kind of captain – the one who takes leading from the front to a whole new level.
As much was evident in the narrow 27- 26 win over their visitors last Saturday.
After being sent to the cooler after a few words of frustration, Grant returned and “apologised” to his teammates by taking a quick- tap penalty towards the end of the match, darting over for what turned out to be the winning five- pointer that secured their first win of the campaign.
It had to be Grant, who coach Wilbur Kraak describes as a “quality leader off and on the field”, who scored the final touchdown.
But while his heroics were enough for the league points that day, the 28- yearold admits that it hasn’t been easy to inject confidence into his players this season.
“It hasn’t been easy when you can see a bunch of guys dejected after a big loss or even a close loss for that matter. But you’ve got to keep pushing and lift them up – not only in team talks, but you have to motivate guys individually as well,” he said.
NNK are still at the foot of the table and in need of a miracle to avoid relegation, but Grant is confident that his team can still play in the top- flight next season.
“It’s nice to be on the winning side for a change and the opportunity is still there to survive the drop. We’ve got five games left and that’s our goal now,” he added.
With his team battling the odds and Grant leading from the front, his gung- ho approach has also been noticed by the Western Province hierarchy and he was called up to the WP Emerging squad for the first time in his career.
For a player who has never worn the hooped jersey, this is the ultimate high.
“I’ve been at this club ( NNK) since 2006, and had two shoulder operations that kept me out of the game for a while,” Grant said.
“I’m very proud to be associated with NNK and I’m thoroughly enjoying my rugby at the moment. Being at City Park with the Emerging squad is a great experience for me, getting to know players from other clubs.
“I’m just incredibly proud of that as I put in a lot of effort in over the years and next to my name ( on the squad roster) is NNK and I’m really proud of that. If I make the ( final) team, it would be a feather in my cap.”
I GOT FIVE ON IT: Gung-ho Brandon Grant charges in last week’s morale-boosting win over Belhar.