Discussion in 'St George Illawarra Dragons' started by SET2JT, Aug 17, 2017.
You don't know that. Maybe Packer waited until the market for props opened up.
I think theres more to the Packer story than that I think.
We offered him a 2yr deal if I remember correctly where as the Tigers was 4yrs and of course the $$ were higher.
However, i think the real reason he was allowed to shop around was basically his form after injury. I dont believe he "slackened" off because he signed elsewhere either, he appears not to be that type, but more so his injury plus his weight (what was it around 130kgs) was increasing pressure on his body. His runs became ineffective and his play the balls slower. This, as a long term prospect wouldnt be sound management particulary at the $$ reported or the long term effects on our up and coming juniors.
I'd love to see Packer stay but 2yrs was the right call. It was his choice for his family to search elsewhere.
IMO i think the Tigers will also see the long term effects of a hard season with Packer as their top prop and I expect his intensity and vigour to drop off as the aeaaon progresses. Just like he did with us.
With Graham you know he will be there in the trenches from season start to finish with the same desire every game.
And dont be suprised if young Blocker becomes one of the premier props in the next few years. A fact that wouldnt happen if Packer was still with us.
Why? We got Graham for about 400k and now have about 900k left in the kitty. What we would have had is a complete first grade prop rotation. Vaughan, Graham, Packer and Ah Mau. Our young props Laurie and Kerr would be in the reserve grade run-on side and ready as backup for first grade; for me the ideal structure for our prop rotation.
Packer is a very minor loss when you take into account we have a signed a better replacement and another club is paying a large chunk of his salary this year. And if we have money to spend it needs to be spent on an outside back. That’s where the squad is obviously weakest.
Yes 2 centres and 2 wingers needed Young guns may apply . unfortunately the coach is looking for backs with 50 years experience so good luck boys
Graham is now a Dragon , Packer a Tiger , he has gone to greener pastures for whatever the reason($) may be . Graham will not only be a tremendous leader in the forwards and the team as a whole with his never say die attitude , but he will also be able to teach the young guns their trade , who better in the competition could do that ?
We will miss Packers quick play the balls , however if the coach is worth his salt he will have already had made allowances for that . Overall a more balanced pack and as said , with Grahams inspirational play , the big Red V will prove a handful for all other teams in 2018 .
I agree that Packer went missing last season after his injuries. We will fill that position from our juniors.
Graham is going to bring to the team something money can’t buy. He is a proven front row player. His experience is going to be invaluable
Dragons' added bonus in signing Graham
Wed 21 Feb 2018, 08:00 PM
James Graham isn't wearing the captain's armband and says suggestions of picking up the coach's clipboard are premature, but not necessarily wide of the mark.
But in just six weeks the star recruit is already proving himself a second skipper to Gareth Widdop and unofficial coaching assistant at the St George Illawarra Dragons.
Graham has clarified reports suggesting his Dragons deal – until the end of 2020 with the final season an option in his favour – would be supplemented by another two years in a coaching role.
A move into the coach's box was discussed briefly during negotiations, but "there's nothing on paper" about the 32-year-old's post-playing career.
"We had some discussions about potentially (coaching) but that can be misconstrued so easily," Graham said.
"I've thought about (coaching). I'd love to stay in the game. It's all I've known since I came out of high school at 16, 17.
"I'd love to stay in this game and part of me would love to go on and test myself in a different avenue.
"I'd love to give back to this game that has given me so much but after all this I don't know. I'm only early 30s so we'll have to see."
The evolution of McGregor's coaching style
The Dragons knew they were getting a leader of rare calibre when they lined up the big Brit last year, with head of recruitment Ian Millward doubling as Graham's first senior coach in another lifetime.
As coach at St Helens in 2003, Millward handed a 17-year-old flame-haired scouser his Super League debut, and Graham duly threw the kitchen sink into everything he did in the game for the next 15 years.
"He's always been a very talented front-rower with a lot of passion and enthusiasm," Millward told NRL.com.
"That's the biggest thing I've noticed, that passion and enthusiasm, it's still no different to the 18-year-old I coached in England.
"The only thing that's changed is his composure as a person, and with the experience he's accumulated he's very generous with his time and advice."
When Graham plumped for the red and white once more after six seasons at Belmore, Millward's early influence proved pivotal.
Since arriving at the Dragons Graham has cracked the whip as expected, driving the likes of Blake Lawrie and Tariq Sims to personal bests in a beep test, screaming away in that famous Liverpool accent for them to keep pushing on his first day at the club.
The work ethic Graham puts down to Millward's coaching all those years ago is now combined with a willingness to mentor in the same fashion.
That passion and enthusiasm, it's still no different to the 18-year-old I coached in England.
Ian Millward on James Graham
Paul McGregor is also suitably impressed with Graham's "very good footy IQ", but understandably the Dragons are reluctant to talk him up as a coach-in-waiting having just forked out for three playing years from the Englishman.
In the meantime, Widdop will lead the side as Graham settles into his new digs and McGregor will coach as per usual – with a helping hand on both fronts.
"Young guys like Blake Lawrie and Josh Kerr, Jimmy's been very helpful for them in a short time already," Millward said.
"The players feel calm with him because there's no barriers with James and he can talk to anyone, and that's the bloke I knew in England.
"It's not always the visible things that can make a coach, it's very tough on your family and is a huge commitment. I wouldn't want to label anyone as a coach in waiting.
"But players are very comfortable around him and they're comfortable asking a question of him, knowing that they'll get a caring response.
"That's the biggest thing because it can be hard for young players, it can be intimidating with a senior player.
"But James looks back on everything he does through his first experiences in footy. He's very open with the help he got as a young guy and he's very conscious about being the same kind of senior player."
Packer's impact for us early last year was huge, enormous, we thrived off his big metres, quick play the balls and stout defence and later when his form dropped the impact of that affected the whole team and the rest of our season. He's a big loss for us and I was appalled that we let him go.
Graham might have his value as an inspirational team mate but he simply won't have the physical impact of Packer. I even think his time as starting prop might not last more than a month or two.
Graham may struggle physically to cut it this year. Hoping his body and mind are fresh.
He does have a high footy IQ. Always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Reads the play very well.
His main role will be unofficial on field coach and mentor. Expect him to push his team mates to the limit.
The guy is what we have been looking for from an attitude perspective for many years. No shrinking violet, and no surrender. He is a throw back from a different era. Just hope his body holds up.
Second half of season packer did not much.
Graham has 5x the footy brain.
I recall Matty Johns comments last year that he firmly believed James Graham would be better served as an impact bench player. He can bring so much energy and enthusiasm onto the field to lift a team and still play big minutes. I tend to agree, why burn him out early when he can be better utilised to control and lift the team when energy levels drop.
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