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How Rhyan Grant’s ‘differences’ have led to a slice of A-League history

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Sydney FC full back Rhyan Grant has always been a little different with his laid-back approach to football – no doubt that approach has helped as he prepares to break the all-time appearance record for the Sky Blues.

Growing up, Grant was often told by his dad he’s ‘a bit different’.

But there’s nothing wrong with that, of course. Grant’s the first to acknowledge it.

‘As long as I’m happy, that’s all that matters,’ was his standard reply.

The Sydney FC star is renowned for his mullet (which he shaved off and raised $25,000 for charity). There’s the relaxed nature, baggy clothes and even a 1984 Toyota Corona called ‘Kitty Kat’.

It’s all played a part in the 31-year-old’s footballing success.

“I like to carry on a little bit and have a bit of fun,” Grant told the media ahead of breaking his club’s all-time appearance record.

“That’s how it started – just not being the sort of generic footballer and enjoying life how you’d normally live it rather than how people are expected to live it.”

In an incredible achievement, the country boy from Canowindra, a small town situated on the Belubula River in the central west of New South Wales, will exceed Alex Brosque’s record of 267 Sydney FC matches when he takes to the field against Western Sydney Wanderers in a blockbuster Sydney Derby at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.

For Grant, the only player left from either club from the very first Sydney Derby back in 2012, the fact his milestone match comes against the Wanderers is ‘extra special’ and he has called for fans to get to the game.

“It’s cool how it works out, such a milestone game for myself against our biggest rivals,” Grant said. 

“We’re always confident but we’ve struggled against them in recent times, so we are going to need to be at our best, but I think being at our home and in front of our members and The Cove will really push us along.”

The talented defender and current Socceroo made his Sydney FC debut in 2008 and became the club’s first ever 10 year player in 2018.

Grant has enjoyed a successful career for the Sky Blues and has won four championships, four premierships, an FFA Cup as well as being included in the PFA team of the year three seasons in a row.

The Sydney FC legend will go down in folklore as being the player who scored the winning goal in extra time during the 2020 A-League Grand Final against Melbourne City when he chested the ball into the bottom corner of the goal. For his match winning performance, Grant received the Joe Marston Medal as player of the match.

Grant has overcome much adversity during his career including two ACL injuries – one on each knee – and a surfing accident after he was swept under the water and trapped with the rope of his board stuck around a pipe. The incident left him ‘lucky to be alive’.

The flying fullback who loves to get up and down the right flank has no intentions to retire any time soon and wants to play more games for his beloved Sydney FC. 

“I still think I’ve got plenty more years in the tank,” Grant said.

“I don’t know if I’ll get to 37 (years of age) like Wilks (captain Alex Wilkinson) or Ninko (Milos Ninkovic), but hopefully I’ve got another four or five years and at least get over 300 games.”

Joel Martelli
Joel Martelli
The only thing that Joel Martelli loves more than football (seriously, we wouldn't be surprised if he has a Wollongong Wolves tattoo) is writing about all things sports. With a Bachelor of Communications and Media Studies Degree specialising in Journalism, he spends his days uncovering breaking athlete news stories and diving deep into play-by-play strategies. We're glad that he's put his passion to the pages of Only Sports as one of our dedicated sports writers.

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