Fresh from inking a new two year deal with the Sky Blues, we caught up with Rhyan Grant as he prepares to become Sydney FC’s first 10 year player.
With plenty of seasons’ memories stored away, with asked the Sky Blues defender to pick his Top 10 moments.
1 - Signing and making his debut:
Signed in season 2008/09 from the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), Grant made his Hyundai A-League debut for the Sky Blues in Round 16 at home to Perth Glory in a 4-1 defeat, playing a total of 13 minutes.
“I remember I was at the AIS still playing with the Youth League and then the club called and said they wanted to sign me,” Grant said.
“I thought I’d just keep playing for the [Sydney FC] youth team but I was pretty excited to sign. Later that year I made my debut against Perth, we got beat, but it was pretty special.”
2 – 2008/09 NYL Title:
When not playing for the first team, Grant represented Sydney FC’s Foxtel National Youth League side with aplomb, helping guide the Young Sky Blues to the inaugural title, making 15 appearances and scoring one goal.
“We had a really good team, the majority of that team went on the play first grade for Sydney FC or others in the A-League,” he said.
“That was a really special year with a good bunch of boys who I still consider good mates.”
3 – 2009/10 double winning season:
Featuring sporadically in his second full season at Sydney FC, Grant’s run to the Hyundai A-League Premiership and Grand Final was cruelly cut short by injury. Despite this, the Sky Blues number 23 rates this season as one of his favourites.
“I was injured at the time [of the Grand Final] but I played a handful of games that year which I was pretty stoked about,” Grant said.
“I was down there and still a part of it [the Grand Final] so it was a pretty cool experience.”
4 – First goal for Sydney FC:
Facing the Mariners in Round 4 at Allianz Stadium, Grant bagged his first goal for the Sky Blues with a tap in following a fumble from goalkeeper Matt Ryan in a match that eventually finished 1-1.
“Matty Ryan was on debut I think, he fumbled one and I got a tap in from on metre,” he said.
“I remember celebrating with the boys, we spoke about it that week if I scored I’d take a selfie because Scott Jamieson was renowned for selfies, so I celebrated by taking a selfie and having a laugh.”
5 – Playing with Alessandro Del Piero:
Italian legend Alessandro Del Piero joined the Sky Blues for season 2012/13 and Grant seeing playing alongside an icon of the game was a moment he’ll always cherish.
“When he came everyone knows how special that was,” Grant said.
“To see him day in day out, what he could do on the field, and how humble he was off it was really cool too.”
6 – Making the 2013 A-League All Stars team:
After a stellar 2012/13 campaign, Grant’s efforts were rewarded as he was called up to the Foxtel A-League All Stars squad where he faced off against English Premier League giants Manchester United at ANZ Stadium.
“It was pretty cool to get recognised and voted in and play with some of the best players in the A-League,” he said.
“To play against Man United was something special and it was a great time.”
7 – Return from knee injury:
Following a knee injury sustained in Round 3 of season 2013/14 that ruled him out for the year, Grant returned off the bench against Melbourne City in season 2014/15 with 22 minutes of valuable match time.
“It was devastating when I did my knee,” he said.
“I was out for 14 months which was hard to take, but I got back to full fitness and made my first appearance which brought a little relief and a good feeling after all the hard work and disappointment you have to go through with the recovery.”
8 – 100th Hyundai A-League game:
Lining up against Brisbane Roar at Allianz Stadium on Friday 6 November, 2015, Grant made his 100th Hyundai A-League appearance for the Sky Blues in a 0-0 draw against the Queensland side.
“It was a long time coming with me being out with my knee, I missed a fair few chunk of games through injury but it was pretty special to get my 10 0 games, especially for a big team like Sydney FC where there’s been a few players come and go.”
9 – Making the 2014/15 A-League Grand Final:
A stellar 2014/15 campaign under new Head Coach Graham Arnold saw the Sky Blues finish in second place on the ladder and reach the Grand Final at AAMI Park in 2015. Grant featured as an early first half sub and said while the result was disappointing it was pleasing to feature in the league’s showpiece event.
“It was a great year for the club,” he said.
“It was good to comeback from injury, push on and make the final and play a part in it. Obviously we didn’t win but it was good thing to make the Grand Final and play in one.”
10 – Season 2016/17, the year of the Invincibles?
Currently 16 games undefeated in the Hyundai A-League and 8 points clear at the top of the table, Grant is enjoying another standout year at right back under Head Coach Graham Arnold.
“We’re undefeated so this year so far has been great,” he said.
“Obviously there’s still a long way to go, we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but it’s pretty special to be a part of this team that’s broken a few records already. Hopefully we can go all the way.”
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