Graham plays through the pain


HUMAN battering ram James Graham continued pummelling Wigan’s defensive line despite picking up a serious neck injury, it has been revealed.

Paul Wellens said his fellow club skipper had put the team before his own health during Saturday’s epic semi-final loss.

Wellens, who was playing in his 11th cup semi-final, said: “Jammer’s performance was phenomenal.

“There was one particular play near the end, where he caught the ball and then fell on the ground.

“I can imagine 13,000 fans thinking what is he doing, but we knew. He was putting his body on the line.

“We didn’t expect him to play, and there were occasions during the match when he could barely walk, never mind run. That reveals a lot about him and his character, and he put the team before his own personal health.

“There was an stage early on in the week when he could hardly walk and I thought there was no chance he could play in the game.

“He made a sacrifice for us, and he’s not the only guy. We had a few put their hands up and played through pain.”

The full-back added: “We are all disappointed we didn’t get the right result, but there is character in the team to move forward and it is something we can certainly build on.

St Helens coach Royce Simmons also hailed his entire team’s bravery.

“They were very courageous,” he said. “I knew they would be.

“We went into the game with a few blokes carrying bumps and bruises and a couple of senior players carried severe injuries into the game.

“We had a fair bit of possession and it would have been good to get across the line at least once in the first half but Wigan’s defence didn’t allow that to happen, and we got a bit excited and tended to go side to side, when we needed to be a bit more direct.”