Grant to make anticipated Panthers return

Tim Grant will make his first appearance in Penrith colours for four years on Thursday.
Tim Grant will make his first appearance in Penrith colours for four years on Thursday.

Four years after being told to leave Penrith by Ivan Cleary, Tim Grant is set to make his own long-awaited NRL return for the Panthers on Thursday.

It was early in 2014 when Grant was forced to look for a new home due to the salary cap squeeze at the club.

A proud local junior who made his debut in 2007, Grant admitted at the time to being selfish and emotional about the situation.

However, after stints at both South Sydney and the Wests Tigers - under Cleary - Grant will make his season debut against Cronulla at Panthers Stadium.

Cleary was reluctant to discuss how the conversation unfolded when informing Grant that he would once again be pulling on the black jumper.

"That's between me and Tim, but he's obviously happy," Cleary said.

"He's glad to be back. He's a Penrith boy. I know he's really keen to contribute to the team, and I'm sure he will."

The former NSW prop's inclusion is one of three changes Cleary made to the team that suffered its third defeat in five games when they were upset by Gold Coast last week.

Hame Sele, Tyrell Fuimaono, and Jarome Luai are gone, replaced by Liam Martin, Wayde Egan and Grant.

Cleary also took the curious decision to elevate James Tamou to the captaincy, while Reagan Campbell-Gillard reverts to a bench role.

Asked how happy he's been with his forwards rotation so far this season, Cleary said: "I don't really like using this forum to discuss selection.

"No disrespect, but it's something I've always done between players and myself.

"It's fair to say though that we're still looking to find a consistent approach or approach that's going to get us the result or the performance we want.

"Whilst we're not getting that, we're still looking for the best way forward."

Australian Associated Press