Tolman seeks different grand final story - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tolman seeks different grand final story

By Todd Balym 29/09/2009 11:32:17 AM Comments (0)

Melbourne prop Aiden Tolman has a point to prove after being dropped for last year's NRL grand final, and he is playing like it too.

Tolman helped the Storm qualify for last year's grand final in the win over Cronulla but was dumped the following week for the return of Kiwi Test enforcer Jeremy Smith who had been suspended for the preliminary final.

The disappointment of missing out when so close to playing in a grand final - even though the Storm lost 40-0 to Manly in the decider - has spurred the 20-year-old through the 2009 season.

He is one of just three Storm players - along with halfback Cooper Cronk and young centre Will Chambers - to have played every game this season and he has even forced his way into the starting lineup in the past three weeks.

"When I was told (I wasn't playing in the 2008 grand final) I was a bit disappointed but I was still happy to be part of the team," said Tolman.

"Just to be part of the team was a really good experience. This year I don't know what to expect on game day but I know what to expect during the week and I think last year will help me a lot in that."

Tolman said the experience of missing the grand final had made him more determined to have a breakthrough 2009 season.

"Coming into preseason I just had my sights set on getting another crack at first grade," he said.

"I had a few games last year and I got a taste of it and wanted more.

"I've played every game this year so far, I've been happy with that as it was a bit more than I expected.

"You have to keep improving and you never know when someone is going to take your spot so you don't want to get too comfortable in your position."

Tolman credits playing alongside some of the game's great players like Cameron Smith, Billy Slater, Greg Inglis, Dallas Johnson and Ryan Hoffman for giving him the confidence to become a regular first grader.

"When you start playing it's hard to get up week in week out because it's very tough," he said.

"It's a good experience to play around good players like that. It brings the best out of you when you're around quality players."

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