Wade Graham is yet to make his State of Origin debut but he is already being mentioned by NSW captain Paul Gallen as his potential successor as Blues skipper.
Gallen will play his final Origin game in Cronulla teammate’s Graham’s interstate debut in next week’s game three.
Graham has already been mentioned as a possible successor to Gallen as captain at the Sharks. And the long-time NSW captain also believes Graham has the leadership skills to lead his state.
Wests Tigers skipper Aaron Woods and Sydney Roosters back-rower Boyd Cordner have previously been mentioned as possible Blues skippers under coach Laurie Daley from 2017.
“I’m sure Laurie will notice one or two guys take on what we are doing, and whether that is a Woodsy or a Cordner who is not here (due to injury), or a Wade Graham, it could be one of them,” Gallen said.
“They are all young and that is what this week is about for myself, and also (vice-captain) Robbie (Farah), Robbie may be here next year he may not.
“That is what the week is all about, Robbie and me teaching these blokes to get to next Wednesday night with their minds on the job.”
A phone call from Gallen persuaded Graham to join the Sharks from Penrith ahead of the 2011 NRL season. The pair have endured plenty of troubles in the Shire and that has helped to strengthen their friendship.
Despite Origin III being his final interstate match, Gallen said he is more focused on Graham’s debut than on his own retirement.
“I don’t think I will be emotional, I will be more emotional about Wade,” Gallen said.
“I am so happy and proud of him. I know about everything he has been through, to play an Origin game alongside him, it is going to be special for us both.”