Former Storm teammates stand in way of Momirovski finally reaching grand final

Paul Momirovski already has the distinction of being involved in the game’s first loan deal, scoring the last try at the old Sydney Football Stadium and twice missing out on a grand final appearance by the slimmest of margins.

It is why the Penrith centre is keen to make the most of his latest opportunity to reach a decider, which happens to be against former club Melbourne.

After a historic loan swap with Harry Grant, Momirovski was part of the Storm squad that won last year’s grand final. The 25-year-old missed out on playing in last year’s finals series after injuring his ankle in the last 10 minutes of the regular season.

The former Tiger was also 18th man for the Roosters in their 2018 premiership triumph, only for Cooper Cronk to take his place by famously playing despite a serious shoulder injury.

Momirovski is again on the cusp of playing in the NRL’s biggest event, with only his former Storm teammates standing in the way.

“It’s good to be a part of those teams, no matter what,” Momirovski said.

“I had the experience last year of being in that high-performing environment and I’m in that situation again this year, which I’m grateful for.

“It’s been a great year, I’ve loved every minute of playing with these boys. Now we’re in a position to make a grand final, who can complain?

“It adds a little bit knowing that I’ve been 18th man for a grand final now. We’re all very motivated to get there. These [Penrith] boys obviously had that experience of a grand final last year against Melbourne, everyone’s excited.”

Momirovski’s career has taken him to four clubs in as many seasons. Three of them – the Roosters, Storm and Panthers – are considered the benchmark for professionalism and success. He believes spending time with Cronk, James Tedesco, Cameron Smith, Cameron Munster and Nathan Cleary has benefited his game.

Paul Momirovski has made the most of his Panthers opportunity.Credit:NRL Photos

“You’re talking about the characters, the personalities are different, but there is more than one way to skin a cat in the NRL,” he said.

“Plenty of teams win with different styles of players. It’s just about finding your best way to perform and producing that at this time of year.”

Momirovski has done just that, forcing his way into a star-studded team ahead of Charlie Staines, pushing Stephen Crichton to the wing in the process.

The Penrith chance would not have been possible had he not made the most of a unique opportunity. While at the Tigers, he was involved in a landmark NRL loan arrangement with Storm hooker Grant. Both players have used that trade as a platform to get where they are now.

“We have both benefited from that and the clubs have as well,” he said.

“You look at Harry, last year he played Origin, and look at how good he has been this year again.

“It was a good experience for me to be at Melbourne as well. It was a positive outcome and, to be fair, it should continue to happen. I feel like sometimes people need to leave clubs to get an opportunity.

“The last two years, not having much NSW or Queensland Cup behind them, [loan deals] are a chance to develop. It lets you continue to do what you love, a lot of players have missed a lot of football over the past couple of years. That’s not ideal for anyone.”

Momirovski moved into Grant’s Melbourne apartment when he first shifted to Victoria and formed a bond while waiting for their transfer to be rubber-stamped by head office.

“We struck up a friendship going through it,” he said.

“We were relaying information to each other about what we’d heard. We were like two pawns on the chessboard waiting to get moved around, but in a positive way.”

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