Big Mal raves over Jammer impact

James Graham is thriving Down Under
James Graham is thriving Down Under

SAINTS legend Mal Meninga wants more Super League stars to follow in the footsteps of James Graham.

Prop forward Graham has made a blistering start to his time in the NRL, helping his new side Canterbury Bullbogs to three wins.

And the presence of so many Englishmen in the Australian competition is a good thing for Kangaroos legend Meninga.

He said: “They’re going very well and I hope that more players come over here from England and get the experience that they need.

“We need to have a good relationship between the two competitions so that can happen.

“James Graham has made a good impact with Canterbury, and Gareth Ellis has been excellent at the Tigers for the last few seasons. What he can take back to Hull will only help the Super League in England.”

n SACKED assistant coach Kieron Purtill says he has no hard feelings towards his former employers.

Purtill was dismissed along with head coach Royce Simmons after a dismissal run of form which saw Saints lost four consecutive games.

But Purtill, who remains head coach of England Knights, said: “It is Eamonn McManus’ club and it is up to him to make the decision.

“He wanted to change the coaching staff around and he wants to go in a different direction.

“I was disappointed, as you would be, but you just get on with it.

“Eamonn and the club have been good to me over the years. We left on good terms, and I thanked Eamonn for what the club has done for me.”

n HUDDERSFIELD boss Nathan Brown has said he will not be tempted to leave the Yorkshire club before the end of the season.

Brown will leave the Giants at the end of the season and is the bookies’ favourite to replace Royce Simmons as Saints head coach.

And the Australian coach was quick to rule himself out of the running, releasing a statement within hours of Simmons’ departure.

He said: “I am going nowhere. I have a job here until the end of the season and that’s that for me.”

Chairman Eamonn McManus has given no indication of how long the inexperienced duo will be in charge at the club. Two other high-profile Australians have been linked with the St Helens job.

Daniel Anderson and Mal Meninga both enjoyed successful spells at Saints, the former as a coach and the latter as a player during the 1985/86 season.

Both are currently without a full-time coaching role and Anderson, who presided over the Saints most successful period in Super League, will be in England later this year to coach the Exiles against England.