'I stopped fighting' - Rhyan Grant reveals his close brush with death

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The green and gold right-back nearly lost his life in Australia's dangerous waters

Rhyan Grant made his Socceroos debut in November 2017 - and is already starring for his nation at the Asian Cup in the UAE.

But it was only through an incredible stroke of luck that the 27-year-old was even around to be selected having nearly died at an Australian beach mid last year.

Grant decided to go for a surf in a five-to-six foot swell near his home in Collaroy on Sydney's Northern Beaches - despite most people choosing to stay on the beach because of the choppy conditions.

The Sydney FC full-back, who described himself 'not the most natural' surfer, quickly found the swell was too large and the waves were breaking violently on top of him.

"I was over-confident after surfing some big waves a couple of weeks before but as I paddled out I realised just how sketchy it was," Grant said in a column for Players Voice.

"I was halfway when I realised the swell was way too big for me. I was in no-man’s land, right where the waves break, when I decided to turn and go back in."

But the country boy from Canowindra didn't get a chance to return to safety with the swell dragging him toward a sewage pipe that extends 30 metres out from shore.

Suddenly a huge wave dumped Grant's body on the pipe before the next force of water pushed his body underneath and wedged it in.

That's when he realised his leg rope was caught on one of the pipe's foundations and mother nature wouldn't allow him to get his ankle out of the jam.

"I was pretty frantic, as you can imagine, fighting to get up for a breath, but I couldn’t reach my ankle to get free because the surf was pushing my leg in the opposite direction to the rest of my body," he said.

"I don’t know how long I was under that pipe but, after a while, the fight just went out of me. It seemed impossible.

"I gave up. I stopped fighting.

"I know that might sound exaggerated or heavy, but I did. I stopped trying to swim to the top. Everything went peaceful and quiet under the water. I got ready to just let it happen.

"‘This is it.’"

However this was not the end of Grant's story with an amazing moment allowing the footballer to get himself free and to safety.

"Something happened that I can’t explain: my leg rope snapped. I got spat out on the other side of the pipe and washed down the beach," Grant said.

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"I don’t know who it was, but someone was definitely looking out for me that day."

Currently in the UAE with the Socceroos, Grant was one of the best performers for the green and gold in the victories over Palestine and Syria having got his chance at half-time of the Jordan match following Josh Risdon's groin injury.

Having been an integral part of Graham Arnold's Sydney FC side, Grant knows the team's system as good as anyone and is likely to be the first choice right back for the rest of the tournament.

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