Sport – League experience turns into gridiron glory

This article was originally published in print in The Herbert River Express on April 29 2017

AN INGHAM born-and-bred league player could soon be representing Australia in Gridiron at the world championships.

Grant Bisson, 15, will be fighting out for a spot at the Oceania qualifiers in Gold Coast later this year to represent Australia in the 2017 IFAF Gridiron World Championships.

The former Ingham State High School student is in his first season of the game of the American sport, which kicked off his career late last year.

Grant played the position of line back.

Grant said he was well prepared for the game because of his experience playing with Herbert River Crushers for several years during high school.

Grant said his background in league helped him progress with his team, Townsville Thunder, and many of his teammates have played rugby as well.

“The tackling in Gridiron and rugby league are basically the same,” Grant said.

Grant said pre-season started last September, with matches commencing in January.

Raised in Ingham, Grant moved with his family to Townsville last year.

Ingham was traditionally a league town, but Grant thought he would give the sport a go.

“I saw how much people were hitting each other, and thought it looked like fun,” Grant said.

He said he was excited and nervous at the prospect of representing Ingham on a national, and potentially international level, but would consider pursuing Gridiron as a career prospect.

“Yes, I find it enjoyable and it’s keeping me fit,” Grant said.

Grant’s mother, Somer Garard, was proud of her son’s achievements, and said it was surreal to see how far he’d come.

“Especially with people who knew of his struggles,” Somer said. “But he seems to thrive on it.”

Grant and Otis Flomo, also 15, were the first Townsville juniors to be selected to represent the national team.

Townsville Thunder coach Boeden Brunne said it was the first time juniors had made an Australian team.

He said they earned their call-ups after impressing selectors at the recent Australia Gridiron League National Championships on the Gold Coast.

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