Jarrad Grant may just be about to deliver on his potential.
If three-goal hauls against West Coast and Sydney in the past fortnight had Western Bulldogs fans excited, then last night’s all-around performance against Carlton proved those two games were no flash-in-the-pan efforts.
The 24-year-old had a career-high 24 possessions, took seven marks and kicked a goal in every quarter in what was a best on ground game.
He was involved in everything early as the Dogs dominated every aspect bar the scoreboard then found himself involved in many of the match’s critical moments after quarter time, including when he kicked what was all-but the sealing goal early in the fourth term.
And while the raw numbers were great, what would have pleased coach Brendon McCartney most was Grant’s work rate.
He laid three tackles, ran hard to space when not in possession and also worked back in defence _ at one stage in the third quarter he took a crucial contested mark deep in defence as the Blues mounted a spirited charge.
Things have not come easy for Grant, who came to the Whitten Oval as the No.5 pick in the 2007 draft.
Yesterday was just his 55th game.
Sure he’s had injuries — osteitis pubis and the infamous stingray barb through the foot among them — but his form has often been maligned when he’s managed to get on the field.
Season 2013 also promised to be another forgettable one.
Niggling injuries kept him off the park early, while a run of nine games in the VFL failed to reach any great heights.
There was no real indication that he was about to take the most significant steps in his career so far when he made his first senior appearance in Round 16.
He snapped the game’s first goal yesterday, set up Liam Jones for his side’s second after telegraphing a Marc Murphy handpass out of defence and also the team’s third with a nifty crumbing effort that ended with Luke Dahlhaus.
If Grant’s third goal, a hack off the ground in the third term, was opportunist, then his fourth quarter effort was all class as he got clear, reared on to his right and snapped around the body from 40m.
Now, with the Bulldogs’ redevelopment starting to turn the corner, Grant’s form may just be one of the most exciting aspects of the lot.
If the Dogs do acquire a solid key forward this summer then Grant, playing a roving half forward role, will work just nicely with a brute coming out of the goal square.