Rhyan Grant is one of the more unlikely stars of Australian football.
Rocking a mullet and walking the streets of Bondi, Grant probably plays the role of surfer better than speedy fullback, three-time A-League champion, and Socceroo.
While his hairstyle earned him ‘cult hero’ status, it’s his seemingly endless gas tank that has seen him excel both domestically and for his nation. But it’s a gas tank that’s needed some maintenance at times.
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Grant has had to overcome two ACL tears — first in 2013, and then again in 2017 — to get to where he is; setbacks that threatened his career.
“It was difficult,” Grant told Fox Sports Australia’s Hannah Hollis of that second ACL injury.
“All the success in 2017 with the grand final win, and breaking records with Sydney FC, to then rupture my other ACL, it was difficult.
“You sort of know what goes into getting back to full fitness. So, that can be a positive — knowing what you have to do — but it can also be a negative, because you know how much hard has to go in.”
Grant grew up in Canowindra — four hours west of Sydney — and was into his cricket and rugby league, before football became the obvious choice. In rehabilitation, he found time away from the sport he’d been playing his whole life.
“I bought a van,” Grant said. “I decked it out with my dad and put a bed in the back and then whenever the boys went on their away trips, I would go up or down the coast either in my van either fishing or surfing.”
When he did return from injury, Grant hit the ground running, and earned an international call-up just months later. Fulfilling a childhood dream that never seemed attainable, the 29-year-old has now made 12 national team appearances.
“I didn’t think it would ever happen,” Grant said, “even before the injuries, let alone after it.”