St George Illawarra’s James Graham intends to play for at least another season
Jenna Brooks has the latest as James Graham approaches a milestone game and Sam Burgess returns, but it’s a game he’d rather forget. Plus, Josh Hodgson impresses.
James Graham will make his 400th first grade appearance on Saturday when St George Illawarra play the Gold Coast Titans.
North Queensland vs Brisbane Broncos
August 8, 2019, 10:45am
Graham’s career began almost 16 years ago to the day. On 15 August 2003, he began his career at St Helens, where he played 225 games in Super League.
In 2012, the prop forward switched competitions, signing with the Bulldogs, where he ran out 135 times, before moving to the Dragons at the start of last year, making 40 appearances.
Graham will make his 400th first grade appearance against Gold Coast Titans
Graham has played his entire career in the front row, and at 33, intends to play for at least another season.
“We play a team sport, it’s about the team, the clubs that I play for, trying to achieve a common goal for them,” Graham said.
“Individually, anything that comes along the way has always not been of any massive importance for me, I’m just trying to do my best for the team I’m playing for.”
Sam Burgess returned to action after spending eight weeks on the sidelines with a shoulder injury, but it was a game he would rather forget.
South Sydney lost 39-24 to Cronulla in a game that saw Burgess put on report for a high shot on Matt Moylan.
Sam Burgess was put on report for a high shot on Matt Moylan
Despite initially passing his HIA and returning to the game, Moylan has since been ruled out this week due to ongoing concussion effects from the tackle.
It was an incident that even frustrated his coach Wayne Bennett, who advised Burgess to control his aggression.
“I’m not happy about that, Sam’s been out for a number of weeks and it’s time for him to come back and lead from the front and stay within the rules of the game,” Bennett said.
Canberra Raiders vs Sydney Roosters
August 11, 2019, 4:55am
“His aggression is important, I want them all to play with aggression. But there are rules and we need to stay within those parameters.”
The England international faced a two-match ban for the grade two high tackle, but was successful in having it downgraded to a grade one.
“I don’t think I’m a dirty player and I don’t intentionally go out there to do that,” Burgess said.
“If you look at the incident, I’m not intentionally trying to hurt anyone. I understand things can go wrong.
Burgess is back after eight weeks on the sidelines with a shoulder injury
“I’m trying to make a tackle, it’s not a loose play, I’m not swinging arms or intentionally trying to hit someone around the head. These things happen in sport. I take responsibility.
“Everyone has an opinion. It’s OK. It makes for good theatre. Everyone has had a bit of fun the last few days. We’ll get on with playing football now.”
The Rabbitohs captain was fined Â£1000, but is free to play against Melbourne in Sunday’s blockbuster, which is live on Sky Sports.
On the same evening Burgess had his charge downgraded, James Maloney was found guilty for tripping Canterbury’s Jeremy Marshall-King during Penrith’s surprise 16-8 defeat to the Bulldogs, and will serve a one-match ban.
The Catalans-bound playmaker pleaded not guilty, maintaining he was trying to kick the ball and missed.
James Maloney has been found guilty for tripping Jeremy Marshall-King
“I’m disappointed with the outcome and it’s not what we were hoping, but that’s the process and you have to respect the process,” Maloney said.
Given Maloney has already been charged twice this season, a fine was no longer an option.
The Panthers are ninth on the ladder and play seventh-placed Cronulla in a crucial match on Friday.
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Melbourne Storm
August 11, 2019, 7:00am
Josh Hodgson played his 100th NRL game on Friday as he led Canberra to a 46-12 thumping of the Warriors, to move third on the ladder.
The England hooker again showed why he is regarded as one of the best in the game.
Canberra sit third after Josh Hodgson inspired them against the Warriors
Hodgson scored a four-pointer, set up a try, produced a one-on-one strip, which led to a try, and he ran for 119 metres in arguably his best game of 2019.
Canberra head into their home game with the second-placed Roosters, live on Sky Sports, having won four in a row.