Wade Graham says he expects to be playing alongside Paul Gallen at Cronulla next year as the NSW skipper’s contract saga continues to drag on.
Sharks officials are hopeful of this week announcing a one-year contract extension for Gallen after being in negotiations for most of the year.
Gallen has reportedly agreed to terms on a new deal which would see him finish up his NRL career with the club in 2016 before moving to England for a playing swansong the year after.
Coach Shane Flanagan last week dismissed reports the club’s desire for Gallen to retire from representative football was a sticking point.
Graham, who is expected to take over as Sharks skipper upon Gallen’s departure, described his teammate as one of the game’s greatest ever forwards.
He said it was Gallen who convinced him to come to the Shire from Penrith in 2011 and he couldn’t fathom him playing for any club other than Cronulla next season.
“I honestly can’t see it happening,” Graham said.
“Paul Gallen has been the heart and soul of Cronulla for a number of years and he deserves to go out as a Sharkie and hopefully as a successful Sharkie.”
Hooker Michael Ennis said playing alongside Gallen was a big factor in his decision to come to the club from Canterbury.
“Guys like him and Luke Lewis and Wade Graham and those sort of guys were the reason I wanted to come and be part of where the club is going,” Ennis said.
“It would be great to see someone who’s given so much to Cronulla get the opportunity to play his final season here.
“It’d be a bit strange to be honest to see him playing for someone else for 12 months.”