League: Grant plays down big hit on Civoniceva

Petero Civoniceva. Photo / AP.
Petero Civoniceva. Photo / AP.

All week, Tim Grant's first hit-up as a NSW State of Origin prop had been running through his mind.

Be confident. Do your job. Don't knock-on. Make good metres. Don't become a one-Origin wonder. Don't let the team down.

But putting Petero Civoniceva, the most-capped forward in Origin's 32-year history and the man you count as one of the biggest influences on your career, firmly on his backside?

"No, I honestly didn't think of that," said Grant. "I didn't see who was running towards me. I just wanted the ball and ran as hard as I could and [tried] not to lose it."

Such is Grant's respect and admiration for his former Penrith skipper, he was almost embarrassed to talk up his blistering start to life as a Blues player after helping his side to a nail-biting 16-12 win to level the series on Wednesday night.

"I don't want to talk too much about that first play," he said.

"Petero is one of the greatest players ever to play the game. I consider him a close friend and someone I've learned a hell of a lot from both on and off the field.

"I've played one game of Origin. I am not going to start talking about putting one over Petero. It was one play - I've achieved nothing in the game yet compared to him.

"I was just pleased to hold on to the ball and give the team some good go-forward."

Despite Grant's modesty, former Queensland enforcer Greg Dowling has no doubts the 24-year-old picked out Civoniceva from the kick-off.

"Tim Grant added another dimension to them," said Dowling.

"I take my hat off to him. That's one of the best first games I've seen by anyone, particularly in the front row.

"He went straight for Petero. I watched him for those first 20 minutes and he was going for Petero. You had the student and the teacher and he went for him."

Grant was one of three Panthers players in the side alongside Luke Lewis and Michael Jennings.

Grant and Jennings have been friends since childhood and the giant front-rower said sharing the taste of victory with the centre made the night more special.

"I was so proud of Mick," he said.

"He was immense in defence. He saved a certain try when he stopped Brent Tate from scoring.

"People have questioned his attitude, his defence, but I think he showed everyone that he's an Origin player."

Brisbane forward Corey Parker and his teammate Billy Slater are facing extended time on the sidelines.

Slater, with a possible posterior cruciate tear, is in serious doubt for the series decider at Suncorp Stadium on July 4, while Parker has undergone surgery for a nasty gash to his lower left leg which was infected by his own boot tags just after halftime.

Parker was released from hospital yesterday to fly home to Brisbane.

While teammates and staff could not look at the gaping wound which went through to his bone, Parker is understood to have asked Queensland team doctor Roy Saunders while he was being examined on the sideline if he could go back on. AAP

- NZ Herald

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