From intensive care to The Cauldron - Queensland debutant Harry Grant has cheated death and now he plans to kill the Blues.

Grant will make his State of Origin debut for the Maroons in Wednesday's series decider against NSW, 10 years after he knocked on death's door.

Grant, 22, was only 12 years old growing up in central Queensland when he was placed in an intensive care unit as a staph infection ripped through his body.

Doctors told his parents their youngest son may not make it through the night.

But here he is, the Dally M rookie of the year and Queensland's latest bench utility weapon that could play a major role in the Maroons clinching their first series win since 2017.

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Grant's infection battle sidelined him for a considerable time as he underwent three operations and five months of antibiotics to beat it.

He then shattered his leg in an all-terrain vehicle accident which robbed him of another year on the footy field.

"I've been through a little bit of adversity when I was younger, but I think there's a lot of people that have gone through worse," Grant said of his ordeals.

"I guess everything happens for a reason. So I sort of just put that behind me, always try and look at the positives that come out of it.

"I think I was pretty mentally strong before that, which probably helped me through that time.

"I missed a few years of footy. I was probably oblivious at the time. I probably didn't really understand the severity of it.

"In saying that I had passions away from footy which was surfing and surf lifesaving. Those kind of things helped me.

"Having the passion away from footy, which I still do now, helps me to get away from it."


After sitting out the first two games of the series, Queensland coach Wayne Bennett has turned to Grant to spark the Maroons in the Suncorp Stadium decider.

He will come off the bench and likely provide relief for starting hooker Jake Friend, who is tiring after two 80-minute performances.

Grant showed his talent throughout a sensational 2020 NRL season on loan from Melbourne to the Wests Tigers, which culminated in him being crowned the Dally M rookie of the year.

Now he will need to bring that energy and threat from dummy-half to help snap NSW's two-year Origin winning streak.

Grant plans to call Storm teammate and Queensland legend Cameron Smith, who he has developed under in Melbourne, in the coming days to pick his brain on the Origin arena.

Harry Grant overcame illness and injury as a child to play for the Queensland Schoolboys. Photo: Chris Ison/The Morning Bulletin
Harry Grant overcame illness and injury as a child to play for the Queensland Schoolboys. Photo: Chris Ison/The Morning Bulletin

"I was thinking about doing it during the week," Grant said.

"A State of Origin game is a whole lot different to clubland. I'm not sure about my role yet.

"I played a little bit in the halves during my junior career. Whether it's halves, lock, hooker, we'll see what Wayne has planned.

"I'll probably just go out there and just try not to let anyone down and just do my teammates and my state proud."

Grant has organised 24 tickets for friends and family from Yeppoon to attend the game.

He credits his father and former Brisbane first grader, Paul Grant, for inspiring his rugby league career but admits his Queensland selection has caused some headaches.

"He's actually from New South Wales originally," Grant said.

"He said if I get a run this series he was going to turn, so I hope to see him in Maroon.

"He was probably a lot tougher and grubbier than I was. Back in the day, when hookers used to get flogged in the scrum.

"He's definitely helped me a lot over the years. He's still up to date with the game, and how it's evolving. He gave me a fair bit."

Originally published as The Maroon who danced with death before Origin debut