Playing behind a forward pack that totally dominated their opposition in running for over 500 more metres in hit-ups in Saturday night’s semi-final, Granville played 52 minutes and a key role in getting his forwards over the advantage line with searching runs from dummy-half.Seven days earlier the 26-year-old struggled to keep pace in the biggest game of his young NRL career but said it was a valuable lesson in preparing to take on the Sharks in their sudden-death encounter in Townsville.”I was ready for it last week but just that extra game helps,” Granville told NRL.com.”I was still a bit tired towards the end of the first half but we had a lot of ball which helped us and our forwards did a great job for us.”Probably just learnt that the speed of the finals is more intense.”In his first full year in the NRL Granville’s next assignment is to find a way to quell the influence of the man he – and almost everyone else in rugby league – nominates as the best hooker in the game today.Twenty-four hours before Granville was caught short against Brisbane, Storm captain Cameron Smith was engineering an upset win over the Roosters that secured his team a much-needed week off and a preliminary final on home turf.The challenge for Granville and his Cowboys teammates is to show the same kind of calmness under pressure that has become synonymous with the Storm, Maroons and Kangaroos captain throughout his decorated career.”He’s tough and he stays composed. He doesn’t get too flustered and just controls the game really well,” Granville said of Smith.”In the intensity of the finals you seem to get a bit flustered but I just try to concentrate on doing my role as best I can for the team because everyone’s role’s different.”Every time I see him play he’s one to watch. He’s the best hooker I think so he’ll be dangerous. He’s so creative around there and he’ll definitely be one to watch.”The laconic former Bronco has assimilated seamlessly into the laidback lifestyle of North Queensland but said he had noticed a change in the energy around town ahead of their home final against the Sharks.With the Cowboys now in just their third preliminary final in the club’s history – and first since 2007 – his dream of playing in an NRL Grand Final is now a step closer to reality.”I noticed a bit of a change,” Granville said of the pre-game build-up.”Support up here is massive but before training and stuff they’d line up for tickets and we knew we were going to get a big crowd and they were really helpful [on Saturday night].”To play some regular footy was my main goal but everyone’s dream is to play in a grand final and that’s all our players’ dream and ultimate goal is to get to that GF.”We’ve got to do a job this weekend and they’re going to be extremely tough down there in Melbourne.”
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.“Your readers need to hear some of the traps of home ownership,” said Thomas A. Haunty, a certified financial planner in Madison, Wis. I had quoted Haunty briefly in an earlier column on savings tips that included his advice not to buy more house than you can afford. Haunty’s comments prompted me to review ever-growing home-related bills: Windstorm insurance $3,742 now versus $1,139 in 2001; homeowners insurance $703, up from $594; flood insurance $317, up from $301; homeowners’ association dues $1,180 a quarter, compared to $681 at first. In addition, the average electric bill runs about $125 a month now, up from $91 in 2001. One bright spot: Our property tax bill this year is projected to be $5,228, less than the $5,298 we paid our first full year in the house. But we also incur other periodic costs, including more than $2,500 for repainting the house and pressure-cleaning the roof and driveway over the past two years, plus hundreds of dollars in repairs after Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne blew through our area in 2004. Bottom line: Home ownership entails costs beyond principal and interest payments on a mortgage. The bigger and more expensive the home, the bigger those costs. And you can expect them to keep rising, often above the overall rate of inflation. Fortunately, we’ve always bought less house than we could afford (but still satisfied our needs), beginning with a “starter” two-bedroom in 1978, then two bigger houses in South Florida and finally our current 2,290-square-foot home in Vero Beach, our biggest. Each time, we chose one of the least expensive houses in a new neighborhood. For our last two homes, we considered only those we could buy for cash. Since my wife, Georgina, and I moved to a new beachside home in 2001, our “house payments” have gone up from $838 to $1,226 a month. And that’s without having a mortgage. I’m talking about the money we must set aside for the homeowners, windstorm and flood insurance premiums, the property tax bill and homeowners’ association dues. Throw in the electric bill, too, and our monthly cost to live at home has gone up another $34, and that’s without counting repairs and upkeep. I bring these numbers up because, as the mortgage woes of overextended homebuyers capture the headlines, other significant home costs can be overlooked. I realize most people don’t buy homes with cash and I’m not advocating everyone pay off the mortgage. But our approach underscores our resolve to stay away from unnecessarily large cash-draining purchases. Today we hear horror stories of homebuyers who, egged on by lenders and expecting home values to always keep rising, got themselves way above their heads. “Most people have multiple goals in life.” Haunty said. “A house is just one of them, yet they blindly forge ahead depleting their ability to meet those multiple goals because one – the house – drains the cash flow.” Solution: Consider all ownership costs and buy only a home that leaves you enough cash to meet your other goals, including building your retirement savings. Think of your home as a place to live rather than an investment. One welcome trend: After rising for more than a decade and hitting a high of 2,302 square feet in the first quarter this year (think home theaters, big master suites), the median size of a newly built single-family home in the United States has begun to decline as buyers seek lower costs. I wonder whether we need more than the 1,560 square feet that was the norm in 1974. In our home, we don’t use more than that. Send questions or comments to Humberto Cruz at AskHumberto@aol.com or c/o Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Buffalo, NY 14207. Personal replies are not possible. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!