JAMES Graham embarks on a new career Down Under with a former Australian legend singing his praise.
Queenslander Wally Lewis, who had a 12-month spell with Wakefield Trinity during the early 1980s, believes prop-forward Graham, who left for Oz over the weekend, can pump fresh life into NRL club Canterbury Bulldogs and revive their fortunes after they failed to reach last season’s play-offs.
Lewis – voted as one of the 100 best players of all-time in Australia and a former international stand-off – said: “I’ve been one of his biggest admirers over the past few years.
“He’s a no-nonsense type of player, which every team needs, especially Canterbury at this moment in time.”
Lewis – now a highly respected sports broadcaster – was speaking at the Golden Boot Award, where he was one of the judges and helped Graham into a top six spot. He added: “Canterbury lacked their renowned toughness last year, and it was one of the reasons they didn’t reach the play-offs, but I believe Graham can help them rediscover it.”
Graham has joined a club which recently appointed Manly Sea Eagles’ boss Des Hasler as coach, and handed the captaincy role to Michael Ennis.
“I’m fully aware of the changes but these things happen in sport and all I can do iscrack on with the rest of my career, “ said the former joint Saints’ skipper.
Liverpudlian Graham has signed a three-year deal, but whether he will return home when it expires is a question only he can answer.
He joined Saints as a junior, and came through the ranks before making his senior debut against Castleford Tigers, in August 2003.
Graham said: “I had a wonderful time at Saints, and would like to thank everyone at the club, including our loyal supporters, for the way they backed me.
“I will also miss the camaraderie and banter which existed among the players. Just going to work was a pleasure in itself.”