James Graham.

Discussion in 'St George Illawarra Dragons' started by SET2JT, Aug 17, 2017.

  1. Red V for life

    Red V for life Juniors

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    OT, if he gets injured or doesn’t fire, then all we can hope for is his attitude infects others. We need that hard, brutal edge to our pack which has seriously been lacking since we had J Smith and Costigan. I saw some evidence in the Charity Shield this may already be happening. JDB was brutal and some of those hits...wow.

    I also think signing Graham, Latimore and Allgood shows Mary’s hand. It’ll be another power based game this year. The only difference is we have quality halves that will have room, but limited outside options to take full advantage.
     
  2. Crush

    Crush Bench

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    Losing Thompson hurts.
    I think Latimore may end up to be a good signing though. Allgood not so good.
     
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  3. TruSaint

    TruSaint Coach

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    There's always a risk in signing a veteran prop, but i think the club took into account what he brings to the club overall and not just match day.

    Be it training, advising up and comers, his character and personality is infectious. Yes @Old Timer , there is a risk of injury, however in this case, based on his overall worth to the club, on and off the field, its a risk worth taking.

    As mentioned we payed a fair amount for Hunt, which is also risky, but again a position we have been lacking real skill for some years.
     
  4. possm

    possm First Grade

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    I am of the opinion that the squad was purposely pushed to its limits during training over the 2 trials. I think, like last season, the intensity will be relaxed in the lead up to round 1 and we will see a much more lively performance from the Dragons. I won't be surprised to see faster line speed and more intensity in defense. I hope we see a better combination between our halves and hole runners. And I do expect to see the likes of Vaughan, Graham and Ah Mou to step up and make a real difference in our go forward. Watch for De Belin to again put on some big hits and cause the Broncos lots of trouble running up the middle. On the negative side, you can bet your pay packet on Bennett sending wave after wave of attack down our right edge. Let's hope that we have sorted out our problems and defend with a brick wall like pattern.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
  5. Como Connection

    Como Connection Bench

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    Right edge defence problems will be solved if Mann is selected at right centre.
    I cannot believe the coaching staff cannot work this out!
    Its so bloody obvious.
    Alas I also see Aitken being selected there.
    Host must play left second rower I say.
    Again I cannot see this happening.
    Regardless I'll be there Thursday night.
    A few beers at the Mortdale Pub first.
    CC
     
  6. hazzbeen

    hazzbeen Juniors

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    Como goes to show that our coach is stubborn or has no idea , how can he possibly leave Mann on the bench . The sad thing is unless there are major injuries , Mann will be a bench player while Mary is coaching .....
     
  7. BradMackay

    BradMackay Juniors

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    I hope Graham is the next Glenn Lazarus... an older prop who can bring high expectations and tough attitude to talented younger players
     
  8. Gareth67

    Gareth67 Juniors

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    Possum , I just hope that as far as fitness is concerned that they have not been overworked . I would go into meltdown if the same fatigue that absolutely sapped the strength from the team last season occurred again . Perhaps dragonsammy61 may be able to tell us a bit more on that front ?

    It would be tremendous if the Dragons could start the season in the same manner as last year , with our forward pack running roughshod over opposition packs . Hell , I would even extend Mary's contract by a couple of days should the Big Red V breath fire .
     
  9. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    NRL 2018: Dragons recruit James Graham eyes end to title drought
    Dragons
    • March 12, 2018 9:19pm
    • Source: AAP
    [​IMG]
    James Graham celebrates a Dragons try in round one.Source: AAP
    ST GEORGE Illawarra coach Paul McGregor has revealed James Graham is being driven by 11 years of grand final heartbreak and lifting his teammates to new heights.

    McGregor heaped praise on the English international prop after he played an integral part in the Red V’s NRL season-opening win over Brisbane.

    While Ben Hunt and Gareth Widdop earned adulation for their star turns, it was Graham’s efforts which McGregor said set the tempo for the game.

    Graham was let go by Canterbury following the recruitment of Aaron Woods and is motivated to win his first NRL title.

    He established a name for himself after helping St Helens to the 2006 Super League premiership but since then has played in a losing side in his last seven grand final appearances.

    He tasted defeat with St Helens in five straight deciders from 2007 to 2011 before having the chance again slip through his fingers with the Bulldogs in 2012 and 2014.

    Graham is a man driven to make up for his missed opportunities over the last 11 years.

    [​IMG]
    James Graham in action for the Dragons.Source: Getty Images
    “He’s a person of good character and character is the glue to your roster and a successful team,” McGregor told NRL 360 on Monday night.

    “It’s always ‘we’ before ‘me’. He’s a good leader and he’s got a great work ethic, you see the passion he plays with, he’s got a good footy IQ.

    “For me it’s just a bloke wanting to do something in the game that he hasn’t done yet. And that’s win a grand final.

    “And he’ll do anything for this football team to be successful.”

    McGregor highlighted Graham’s one percenters against the Broncos including at one stage making four tackles in a row and on another occasion forcing a Brisbane mistake off which his side scored.

    “They get belief. Because they see how hard James goes about his business at training,” McGregor said.

    “He’s not the quickest, he’s not the strongest, he’s not the biggest but what he does do is he’s committed. He does extras when everyone else is finished training.

    “He talks the right talk and he fights the right fights.”

    https://www.foxsports.com.au/nrl/nr...k=532f0da58a27d2b15d745f0c842941d5-1520856965
     
  10. SEAT 1A

    SEAT 1A Juniors

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    I don't want to harp on about Mary however, what the hell. Talk about what he does at training.

    Graham doesn't seem the type of bloke to need his tyres pupped however, I don't know where that came from.

    At least he got the two positives with one negative right.
     
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  11. Old Kogarah Boy 1

    Old Kogarah Boy 1 Juniors

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    Fact remains .......Is McGregor prepared to step aside in order for Graham to fulfill his desire to reach and win a Grand Final?

    Sadly, I can never see McGregor taking us to a Grand Final. ( hope he proves me wrong )
    Yes, we have the team / talent.
    Anyway, I'll leave it at that.
     
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  12. dragonssamy61

    dragonssamy61 Bench

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    OT
    Pickworth had more say this year .
    He has control of how hard the player are pushed and when to ease off. Each player also has individuality training as well.
    That they do. I would say that preseason training was done differently than last year and a little less intense. But just as hard.
    Some player have been training since november .
    While the guys geting over surgery were eased in .
    The guys coming back from the world cup not till January.
    So widdop and hunt have only been training together 9 weeks.
    But all the training regimes are signed of and over seen by mary.
    He run the show weather that is good or a bad thing.
    Hope this helps
     
  13. 2010

    2010 Juniors

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    I think that when Graham walks on the field they know they are in for a battle.
    Throw in JDB, Vaughan, Frizzel, LAM, McInnes we have a powerful lineup
     
  14. SEAT 1A

    SEAT 1A Juniors

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    Is this a usual thing samy, for the first grade coach?

    I'd be leaving it to a profession in that field. One less thing to oversee and relying on his judgement.
     
  15. possm

    possm First Grade

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    You mean again and again. Remember we fell away mid season in both 2016 and 2017. Once thing you can say about Mary is that he doesn't learn from experience.
     
  16. 2010

    2010 Juniors

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    McIdiot is not one of the boys anymore. He needs to act like a coach and drop players who are not performing. That should apply even if we win.
    Coaches are there to win gamrs, not a popularity completion.
     
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  17. hewi

    hewi Juniors

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    The Damo and dragonssamy61 like this.
  18. Old Timer

    Old Timer First Grade

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    Latimore is evidently winning the popularity contest.
    The cheshire cat coach we have is so much one of the boys I think he would relish a chance to fill the 30th spot in the roster and be Capt / Coach as I think his delusional ego is that big.
     
  19. SBD82

    SBD82 Bench

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    If I had a choice I'd prefer him on the roster than in the coach's chair.
     
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  20. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    I had lost confidence': Old Dog Graham gets new lease on life
    By Andrew Webster
    Updated14 March 2018 — 7:20pmfirst published at 6:00pm

    James Graham is a 15-year-old kid with strawberry blond hair from a town just north of Liverpool in the United Kingdom who doesn’t dream of playing football at Goodison Park or Anfield but rugby league for St Helens and England.

    To celebrate victories, he and his teammates guzzle beers and then run at roll-down garage doors, just for the fun of it.

    If the 15-year-old James Graham could hear what the 32-year-old James Graham has just said in this café in the Sutherland Shire, he knows what would happen.

    He would kick the shit out of himself.

    “I’m not going to shy away from it: I do like it here,” admits the England captain of his life in Australia. “As hard as it is for me to say . . . ”

    Why is it so hard?

    “Because I know the 15-year-old me would want to kick the crap out of me for saying that,” he laughs. “I didn’t hate Australia — I just loved England. I still love it. That 15-year-old me would say you can go there but you will have to come back. We’ll see.”

    Graham might not have said this last season when he was captain of the Bulldogs, the club he joined in 2012 after starting his career at St Helens.

    Each week, as talk swirled about the future of coach Des Hasler and then himself, Graham would front media conference after media conference, ashen-faced, stiff-jawed, fixed stare, as reporters lobbed hand grenades in his general direction.

    “Without playing the victim, I’d like to think I kept ripping in at training and on the field but I had lost confidence,” he admits. “Like the rest of the team.”

    At first, the possibility of Graham being squeezed out because of salary-cap issues after the signings of Aaron Woods and Kieran Foran wasn’t plausible. By early September, his move to St George Illawarra was a done deal.


    A successful World Cup (save for England’s narrow loss in the final to the Kangaroos), pre-season training with his new club (that didn’t include running at garage doors) and a first-round bash-up of the Broncos have seen him reborn.

    He’s contracted for two seasons and has an option his way for a third if he wants to stay instead of having a farewell season at St Helens — but he’s already talking about playing on in the NRL as a 35-year-old front-rower.

    “So I don’t want this story to be about the Bulldogs,” Graham insists. “That all seems so long ago. ‘Mary’ [Dragons coach Paul McGregor] has really refreshed me. There’s a more relaxed approach here. He gives control to the players. I feel like I’m starting all over again.”

    Graham walked into Dragons training in the first week of January with a point to prove. “Which sounds crazy because he doesn’t have a point to prove,” Dragons forward Jack de Belin says.

    Instead, in a defensive session, Graham decided to prove a point.

    The team was split in two, working on its try-line defence, and Graham was in the attacking side. When the play broke down, he would sprint back to the 30-metre line, preparing himself as if the game was about to restart.

    But it wasn’t a game. It was training.

    “I thought, ‘Oh wow’,” recalls Graham’s front-row partner, Paul Vaughan. “We all just looked at each other. I’ve never seen that at any other club I’ve played at.”

    None of this would surprise those who played with him at the Bulldogs, and while Graham doesn’t want this story to be about the Bulldogs, some of it has to be.

    Former teammate Josh Reynolds is no longer at Belmore, either, and he can’t fathom why Graham isn’t still wearing blue and white.

    “Canterbury were mad to get rid of him, that’s what I reckon,” says Reynolds, who is now at the Wests Tigers. “He puts his heart and soul into everything he does. Isn’t that what you want? I know that’s the type of player I want to play with. Whatever the Bulldogs lost, the Dragons gained.”

    What will he bring to them?

    “I don’t know what he’ll bring to the Dragons this year, man,” Reynolds says. “I just know you could see in that first game against the Broncos that they were tougher. Something happened and he was the first in there.

    “It will help him not being captain. At the Bulldogs, that brought extra pressure: big club, good roster, everyone wants results. It all caught up with him. He was a great captain but sometimes he worries too much — because he cares about people.”

    Reynolds knows that better than most. At the Bulldogs presentation night in September, then-chairman Ray Dib revealed to the room that Graham had offered mid-season to take a pay cut so the club could retain Reynolds.

    The moment reduced Graham to tears.

    “And I was rattled,” Reynolds says. “We were always close but . . . I mean, the guy’s got a wife and kid and another on the way and he offered to do that for me? That’s special.”

    Raise the story with Graham and he becomes uncomfortable.

    “At that time, when Josh had rung me to say he was going to sign at Wests Tigers, I just wanted to do everything I could for him to say. I said . . . it’s weird because I don’t like talking about myself in this way.

    “There was a lot not going Canterbury’s way — coach under pressure, board under pressure — and I wanted to fix that. It was suggested to me the best way I can be part of the solution was to go. That’s not blaming anyone. I’m not going to play the victim with this move. It was my decision. It’s been a win for me, a win for Canterbury, and hopefully for the Dragons. It feels strange to talk about it now. It will always be part of me but I have moved on.”

    But before we do, a final word on Hasler, who helped Graham navigate some difficult times, not least the fallout from his alleged chomp on Billy Slater’s ear in the 2012 grand final as well as the explosive Good Friday match against South Sydney in 2015 that erupted after Graham gave away the match-winning penalty.

    “There were a couple of situations where he really stood up for me,” Graham says of Hasler, who was sacked in late September. “Not a lot of others would have. I will forever be in his debt. I’ve seen him once since it all unfolded but I will always have admiration for him. It’s easy to have a short-term memory but he took over that team that didn’t make the play-offs the year before and then we made the grand final.”

    Perhaps we’re all suffering memory loss. Cast your minds back to the heady days of the Slater incident. Think

    Loading
    back to Good Friday when he and David Klemmer’s eyes were rolling back in their heads with anger.

    Back then, the general dislike for Graham was Gallen-esque because of how he played and the way he spoke to referees. He fitted snugly into Hasler’s famed policy of getting the entire universe to loathe his side.

    But, in time, we’ve grown to respect Graham. He’s a throwback prop who plays hard on the field and speaks truth off it. When the Dragons meet Cronulla in the Shire on Thursday night, he'll be one of the most admired players on the field.

    We’ve swung his way. He’s part of the rugby league furniture. Imagine this game without Jimmy Graham.

    “Oh, I don’t know about that,” he laughs. “But I do like it here. I’d like to think I’ve changed a little bit to that 15-year-old kid wanting to play for St Helens, running at garage doors.”


    https://www.smh.com.au/sport/nrl/i-...m-gets-new-lease-on-life-20180314-p4z4bf.html

    P.S Thanks Hewi
     
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