Kangaroos rookie Harry Grant insists that the pain of bruised ribs from a training mishap won’t stop him making his Test debut in Australia’s opening World Cup match against Fiji at Headingly.
Grant sent a scare through the Gallagher Kangaroos camp when he collided heavily with the goal post during a training session at Salford’s AJ Bell Stadium and needed treatment before continuing.
The sound of Grant hitting the post as he ran after fellow debutant Reuben Cotter was so loud that Kangaroos training staff initially feared he had broken his arm.
As soon as the session finished, the Storm star was strapped with ice around his bruised ribs.
However, Grant said he would take his place on the interchange against the Bati along with the other six Australian debutants – Cotter, Murray Taulagi, Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, Angus Crichton, Jeremiah Nanai and Pat Carrigan.
“I was chasing Reuben down the sideline and cleaned the post up but I am not too bad,” Grant said. “There was just a little bit of pain but it’s not too bad. I got through the session.
“It sort of come from nowhere, I dived for him and hit the post bad. I didn’t even see it. I was a little bit winded but I’m all good to go, and very excited.”
The seven newcomers are the most blooded by an Australian team since 2007, when Ricky Stuart handed debuts to Brett Stewart, Greg Bird, Cooper Cronk, Ryan Hoffman, Jarryd Hayne, Paul Gallen and Kurt Gidley in Wellington.
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With 13 international rookies in his 24-man squad, Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga is expected to give another six players their Test debuts in next weekend’s match against Scotland.
“There are a number of debutants in the team, so it is going to be a special night for all of us,” Grant said. “To pull on the Australian jersey is pretty cool.
“Every Aussie kid growing up dreams of playing for Australia and I remember setting the alarm to get up in all hours of the night to watch the World Cup so to be here doing it now is pretty special.
“I spoke to my family, and they are stoked. It is going to be a special night for them as well. They are coming over later so they will miss the game, but I am sure they will be watching on TV.”
Meninga said he had no concerns about Grant’s fitness and wouldn’t be tempted to delay his debut until the following game against Scotland at Coventry.
“Thankfully Harry is okay,” Meninga said. “He has just got bruised ribs, but I know he is fine because he completed the session.”
“I am really excited for the players. You can tell how much they are looking forward to it because that was our first real training session, and it was unbelievably good.
“I am really happy with the way everyone has bought into things and they are mixing really well socially as well so I am looking forward to getting stuck into it.”