Jake Granville could become a potential State of Origin bolter if he puts his mind to it, according to North Queensland NRL coach Paul Green.
Granville has been rewarded for his sensational first season with the Cowboys with a two-year contract extension, which will keep him tied to the reigning premiers until the end of 2018.
The 26-year-old Rockhampton product was one of the club’s key figures as it broke through for a maiden title, playing in all of North Queensland’s matches this year, scoring 10 tries and finishing the season leading the NRL for total dummy-half runs (189) and dummy-half run metres (1524m).
Not bad for a bloke who only cracked the game’s top grade at the age of 24, and had to bide his time for two seasons behind Andrew McCullough at Brisbane before getting the chance to stamp his mark on the competition.
Green reckons Granville has it in him to continue his meteoric rise even further and, one day, play himself into a Queensland jersey – but says it’s up to him to make it happen.
“It’s not out of the question,” Green said.
“But in saying that, he’s had one good year.
“The challenge for him is to be able to back it up next year.
“Last year, largely, clubs didn’t really know a hell of a lot about him. They’re probably going to be better prepared to cope with him next year.
“But he’ll be better for having that year under his belt. He’ll know what to expect.”
Before they reunited in Townsville, Green had coached Granville at Queensland Cup side Wynnum Manly and, while impressed with him as a player, admitted he held doubts over whether he was truly NRL material.
“There was always a bit of a question mark over whether he could take the step up and do it at that next level,” Green said.
“I was really pleased for him that wasn’t an issue for (North Queensland).
“Once he earned his start in our team, he held onto it and he was a great addition.
“I think too often, players think if they haven’t earned themselves a contract once they’re 20, it’s all over for them. The fact that he’s toiled away in the Intrust Super Cup for a few years is a great lesson for young guys.”
Granville said it was an easy decision to stay put in an environment he felt would help him get the best out of himself.
“It’s awesome to have Greeny, obviously a familiar coach who knows your style,” he said.
“I’ve got a lot to learn and I believe him and his staff can help me do that.”