Graham apologises to Bulldogs teammates

Captain James Graham has apologised to Canterbury teammates for his role in the ugly scenes that marred the conclusion to the controversial Good Friday NRL clash with South Sydney.

Graham on Tuesday took the early guilty plea option on his contrary conduct charge over his heated clash with referee Gerard Sutton after he awarded the match-winning penalty to Souths.

The English prop will miss four NRL games after also taking the early plea on a dangerous contact charge for his tackle on Adam Reynolds that led to the penalty.

Graham’s agitated response to Sutton was accompanied by a tirade from teammate David Klemmer who subsequently copped a contrary conduct charge and three match ban.

And, when the match ended soon after, angry Bulldogs fans threw plastic bottles at the match officials as they left the field.

Bulldogs star Josh Morris said a contrite Graham had learned a harsh lesson and had addressed the team about it at their video session on Tuesday.

“He apologised for what happened and if he the same situation happened again I’m sure he would react differently,” Morris said.

“Obviously frustration got the better of us there and the way we reacted probably wasn’t the best.

“We need to know how to handle ourselves in those moments a little bit better and I think this was a learning curve.

“James was apologetic and said that as captain it probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do.

“He is a very sincere bloke and I think everyone knows the type of bloke that he is and the competitor that he is and he let that get the better of him.

“But he has learnt from that mistake.”

Aidan Tolman, who is likely to take over as Bulldogs skipper in the absence of Graham, said he continued to have his teammates’ support.

“We probably took the wrong approach about it, all players involved are probably aware of that,” Tolman said.

“But in saying that the two players (Graham and Klemmer) are passionate players, they wear their heart on their sleeve every time they take the field.

“James in particular, he is our leader, there is no one else I would rather be in the trenches than him and that’s the approach every player has.”

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