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Brayden McGrady in action for the Norths Devils in 2022. Photo: Vanessa Hafner/QRL

Brayden McGrady is going from opportunity to opportunity.

The powerful centre, who scored the match-winner for Norths Devils in last year’s premiership decider, is on top of the world after graduating from his 2022 grand final victory into an NRL system.

McGrady has signed with the Redcliffe Dolphins for season 2023 but continues to train fulltime with the Dolphins NRL side on a train-and-trial agreement, in an exciting opportunity for the 26-year-old.

It’s not his first time in an NRL system – with McGrady signing a two-year deal with Penrith back in 2019 – but with the former Tweed sensation at his fittest, he is determined to make the most of his current situation.

“It was pretty tough leaving Norths after winning a premiership there with those boys there but I couldn’t go past coming across here and getting a chance to train fulltime,” McGrady said.

'Excited, pumped': McGrady on claiming win in first decider

“You can’t be turning down opportunities like this.

“It came about just before the pre-season started. My manager got me in for a meeting with the Dolphins to come across and train fulltime with the NRL squad and that’s how that came about.

“I’m now training with the NRL squad for the year. It’s been good. It was a tough pre-season. It’s been good training everyday… not having to work and go to training afterwards, I’ve been enjoying that.

“The boys are good here and you learn a lot from those in the fulltime squad.”

Brayden McGrady in action for the Norths Devils in 2022. Photo: Vanessa Hafner/QRL
Brayden McGrady in action for the Norths Devils in 2022. Photo: Vanessa Hafner/QRL

McGrady will start on the wing for the Redcliffe Dolphins in the Hostplus Cup this Sunday, in their season-opening clash against Brisbane Tigers.

He will be joined by fellow new signings, five-eighth Albert Kelly and forward George Fai, as well as fellow NRL affiliates like Valynce Te Whare and Trai Fuller.

He has been training between the two squads throughout the pre-season, but said the Dolphins franchise has most of their players reaping the benefits of a fulltime system.

For McGrady, he has been able to pick the brains of players like former Queensland Maroons duo, Brenko Lee and Edrick Lee, and has learnt a lot about the professionalism required at that level.

“Most of us train fulltime and go back down to Cup,” McGrady said.

“Probably one of the biggest lessons I’ve taken away has been eating properly. Training hard, getting up every day to train, it’s been good.

“I used to eat whatever I wanted and stuff I shouldn’t be eating. I had a tough pre-season learning diet and nutrition but it’s been a big thing for me. It’s helping me with training.

“This would be the fittest I’ve been in a while, so I’m looking forward to getting out and playing.”

While McGrady will start the season with the Hostplus Cup team, he still has his sights set on making a potential NRL debut this year.

But either way, he is just happy to go keep going from strength to strength.

“My goal would be to play consistent footy,” he said.

“I want to back up from last year and hopefully the opportunity comes to play NRL and make my debut. That would be the goal this year.”

Redcliffe Dolphins 2023 gains and losses


Brenton Baira (Mackay Cutters), George Fai (Souths Logan Magpies), Caleb Jackson (Ipswich Jets), Albert Kelly (Brisbane Broncos), Brayden McGrady (Norths Devils)


Jack Aiken (released), Edward Burns (released), Cameron Cullen (retired), Bryce Donovan (Norths Devils), Sam Elliott (Norths Devils), Patrick Gallen (Townsville Blackhawks), Shane Pumipi (released), Lachlan Timm (released), Setu Tu (New Zealand Warriors), Tahj Wood (Brisbane Tigers)

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Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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