Graham welcomes Bennett signing

Charm may not be the first quality that comes to mind with fiery Bulldogs forward James Graham.

But the red-headed battering ram says he may have to turn on the charisma in the World All Stars camp this week with Wayne Bennett to ensure a Four Nations nod.

“I might have a few coffees with him, shout him a few orange juices, why not – anything to help get me picked,” Graham laughed ahead of this weekend’s All Stars clash in Brisbane.

Bennett ruffled feathers in the UK when he replaced Brit Steve McNamara at the England helm for the 2016 Four Nations and 2017 World Cup.

He will juggle the role with full-time duties at NRL club Brisbane.

Critics believe Leeds’ UK Super League-winning Brian McDermott would have been a better fit had he been appointed on a full-time basis.

But Graham wondered what all the fuss was about.

“Wayne is not only one of the best coaches of his generation but also one of the best coaches in rugby league,” Graham said.

“For us to be able to attract someone like that for the job speak volumes.

“And I read some of the comments and think maybe a few have been taken out of context – I don’t read too much into those headlines.”

Graham became England’s most capped player, breaking Kevin Sinfield’s mark of 26 internationals during their 2-1 win over world No.1 New Zealand in late 2016.

It marked England’s first series win in eight years.

Graham looked forward to many more under Bennett.

But first he intended to get to know the master coach in the World All Stars camp ahead of Saturday night’s Suncorp Stadium clash with the Indigenous team.

“I am really looking forward to working with him in a full camp – this is such a short one,” he said.

“To get the opportunity to work under Wayne in a seven-week (Four Nations) tournament, that’s an exciting prospect.

“Unfortunately I will have to wait 10 months for that.”

But Graham warned it would take more than Bennett’s Midas touch to turn No.3-ranked England into world beaters.

“We are starting to get a bit of depth but we need our key players fit and ready to go, that’s important,” he said.

“But all things being equal if we can tweak a few things here and there, who knows (we could win Four Nations).”

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