Described by many as the greatest Super League import of all time, James Graham will run out this Sunday as the first English born captain of the Canterbury Bulldogs in their 80-year history.
Arriving at Belmore from St Helens in 2012, Graham has dominated the NRL, making two grand finals in 3 years and taking out the Dally M Prop of the Year award in 2014.
He has a style that is unlike any other prop in history, but best compared to the 5-time Grand Final winner Glen Lazarus. With the aggression of Gordon Tallis and the ball skills of Andrew Johns, Graham has the ability to run over the top of someone, slip through a hole, draw and pass to an outside back or put someone through for a line break. As well as rattle the bones of players in defence.
After Michael Ennis’ departure after 6 years in the blue and white, his close mate James Graham takes control of the side after he co-captained the Dogs in their Grand Final loss to South Sydney last year.
Whilst the two are great mates, their on field personalities are polar opposites and forward Aiden Tolman believes there will be some differences, but Graham is definitely the right man for the job.
“He was always a leader, whilst Mick (Ennis) was the captain. He was always a leader amongst our group, and there’s plenty of other guys here that are leaders as well.
“He’s a different character to Mick, he leads with passion and aggression and that’s what he needs to continue to do. That’s why we love him, that’s why we respect him so much and that’s why he’s our captain,” said co-captain Aiden Tolman.
Only captaining a handful of times throughout his career, including co-captaining his final year at St Helens and some matches for England, the role is relatively new for Graham. Though fellow prop Tim Browne believes it wont change the Englishmen too much.
“I don’t think he’s going to change too much of what he does. I think if he sticks to what he does last year. He was a leader throughout the year along side Mick (Ennis) anyway in what he does on and off the field. We’re all really excited to be under James as captain this year.
“He’s always been the same, he’s a leader. He hasn’t changed; he’s still the same James,” said Browne.