Fresh off two tries on debut, Storm centre Grant Anderson had an emotional reunion with family on the sidelines in Melbourne‘s exciting 26-18 win over the Roosters at the SCG on Saturday night.
Anderson was a late call-up to the side after Xavier Coates suffered a bad ankle injury in State of Origin for Queensland on Wednesday, but the Newcastle native made the most of his chance, and played a key role in the victory.
The 22-year-old has been plying his trade with the one of the Storm’s feeder sides, the Sunshine Coast Falcons, this season and with a run of injuries to the outside backs, coach Craig Bellamy was forced to pick the development player.
Fortunately he did, because Anderson scored tries in the 14th and 61st minutes playing opposite premiership-winner centre Paul Momirovski.
Grant Anderson celebrates with family and friends after the Storm’s win over the Roosters
It was heartwarming to see the young debutant then head to the stands to find his family, where he was mobbed in joyful scenes.
The emotion was palpable when he hugged his grandfather Nev, who had tears in his eyes, and bonded over a night Anderson will remember for the rest of his life.
Grant Anderson and grandfather Nev share an emotional moment after he makes his debut
‘He’s been there since I was a little kid,’ he said of Nev in a CodeSports report.
‘He played endless amounts of footy in the backyard with me and my little brothers. It’s something pretty special.’
Anderson’s grandfather Nev was emotional after the game
Anderson said he was so grateful he could have so many to support him at short notice.
‘I had my mum, dad, my grandparents, my two brothers – they’ve been there the whole way,’ he said in the report.
‘Then I had mates on mates on mates who’ve all made the trip down from Newy.
‘It was an awesome experience, especially when you hear them call your name in the corner. It’s something I’ll never forget,’ said Anderson.
Grant Anderson scores one of two tries on debut for the Storm
Storm halfback Jerome Hughes was over the moon for Anderson after he scored a try
Bellamy said after the game the young centre was ‘the last man standing’, but was duly impressed with his efforts.
‘When Xavier [Coates] went down on Wednesday, we were looking at probably putting in Will Warbrick but he hurt his calf early in the week,’ he said.
‘He’s [Anderson] been down a few times to train with us, but with all due respect we’ve never really thought ‘we’ll put him in this week’ because we probably haven’t seen the need … he hasn’t had an easy run but he did a great job tonight.’
Anderson was a late call-up to the side after a number of injuries to the outside backs
Anderson almost missed his call-up altogether.
‘I found out on Thursday. I was at Coles … Bellsa (Bellamy) rang me twice and I missed the call!’
The late decision made logistics a little harder for his excited support network, with his girlfriend and mother due to watch him play in Brisbane for the Falcons – but fortunately they, and other family members, were able to fly in for an extra special jersey presentation.
Grant Anderson with family members after his jersey presentation
Star Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster lauded Anderson’s contribution to the side’s win, which was only sealed in the dying minutes.
‘A great feat for himself in his debut game scoring two tries very happy for him,’ Munster said.
‘He’s obviously worked hard down the path of playing for the Falcons in Queensland and he got his opportunity with us. He’s obviously playing well and he deserved his opportunity.’
Anderson celebrates scoring a try against the Roosters on Saturday night
Anderson was the 222nd player to play for the Storm, and hails from Belmont, near Newcastle.
He played his junior footy with Central Charleston before making his Queensland Cup debut with the Northern Pride last year.
No matter how many games he adds to his NRL tally, Grant Anderson and his family will never forget his two tries on debut.