Dogs skipper Graham out for a month

Canterbury skipper James Graham is expected to miss a month of NRL action because of the hamstring injury suffered in the win over St George-Illawarra last week.

Scans this week revealed the extent of the injury he picked up just 17 minutes into his first game back since injuring his knee against the Sydney Roosters in Round 10.

He was also suspended for four games earlier this season following their fiery Good Friday defeat to South Sydney in Round 5.

Graham isn’t expected to play again until the Round 18 match against Brisbane.

His loss will be greatly felt by the Dogs, who bounced back to form when they knocked the Dragons from top spot on Monday to jump into the top eight.

He is seen as a linchpin of their success and since 2012 they have won just 39 per cent of their matches without him, compared to 63 per cent when he is on the park.

“His work rate is phenomenal and he’s always there making tackles, last man tackles,” Bulldogs backrower Greg Eastwood said.

“We’ve got to work hard and not worry about what James brings to the team, the boys that come in bring their own special things.”

He also adds an extra dynamic in attack, playing as a ball distributor and often taking on the line.

Eastwood said instead of altering their game plan, more responsibility would fall on Sam Kasiano, Graham’s replacement against Gold Coast on Sunday.

“Sam Kasiano comes in and he does the same role,” Eastwood said.

“We’ll just stick to our game plan and work off that.”

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