Graham happy to toe line at Dragons

James Graham is treading cautiously in his first days at St George Illawarra and the former Canterbury skipper is happy to take a step back and do what he’s told as he settles into a new NRL environment.

The passionate English forward led from the front as a Bulldog and with his national team in the recent Rugby League World Cup.

But his only focus now is playing his role in a Dragons pack he says is capable of big things.

Graham was squeezed out at the Bulldogs last season in a salary cap saga that saw Wests Tigers forward Aaron Woods and Warriors star Kieran Foran head to the kennel.

An inspirational leader who played in two grand finals for the Bulldogs after moving from English Super League club St Helen’s, Graham is sure to provide the Dragons with tremendous leadership in what is a three-year deal.

But the 32-year-old says he hasn’t yet spoken to coach Paul McGregor about his role and is happy to toe the line as he familiarises himself with his new Wollongong surroundings.

“I’m coming here to do my best and try and play the best I can,” he said.

“I don’t know if re-energise or whatever is the right phrase, I’m just trying to do my best and get on board with the club.”

Reluctant to single out any of his young teammates, Graham says he saw enough while playing against the Dragons last season to give him enough confidence to make the move.

“I played against them a couple of times last year and I know what they’re about,” Graham said.

“People talk about second-year syndrome, but I think it’s a bit rubbish really and don’t really believe it.

“I think it actually excels you and as an older guy I like seeing those younger players come through and see their careers develop.”

Graham will continue to car-pool between Sydney and Wollongong and has not yet committed to a permanent move.

But he says it’s “so far so good” and that anything is possible at the Dragons in 2018.

“There’s a lot of things that have got to fall into place for that,” he said when asked of the club’s premiership potential.

“But I think the foundations are definitely here.

“That’s not something that just happens – you’ve got to build for that – but we’re going in the right direction.”

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