Send us news by text, start your message Star News and your send photos and videos to 80360
Former Saints prop Graham: England need to fix the A to Z of rugby league
AFTER two years in the NRL, ex-Saint James Graham knows better than most what repairs are needed in order to tackle Australia in the World Cup opener in Cardiff on Saturday.
The 28-year-old, whose 11 years in the red V ended with the Grand Final loss to Leeds two seasons ago, was left ‘embarrassed’ by England’s shock defeat to Italy in the weekend’s warm-up at Salford.
Now Graham, his old Saints teammate James Roby and their national colleagues need to put right in one week the damage caused by a hastily assembled Azurri outfit, or face losing the hearts of 50,000 expected fans on day one.
“You don’t need me to tell you that it was not good enough against Italy,” said the Canterbury Bulldogs prop.
“Everyone knows, and there’s been so much excitement for the World Cup – it’s genuinely embarrassing.
“A lot of things have got to be put right – ball control, knowing our spots to get to and what to do with the ball, better contact in defence, knowing the marker system. We’ll pretty much need to fix up the A to Z of rugby league.
“Can it be done? I hope so. We’re not just going to give up. We’re going to try our best.”
After several years of Elite Training Squad programming, five players gaining experience in the NRL and a two-week high altitude training camp in South Africa, the 13th ranked European rugby league nation – albeit with a host of top grade Australians added to their squad – made England’s top stars look ordinary at the weekend.
“That’s probably the worst I’ve ever felt coming off a rugby field,” said Graham.
“Maybe it was just one of them days, maybe not. I just don’t know, I can’t put my finger on it and it’s all a bit of a shock.
“I genuinely can’t believe that happened!”
Comments are closed on this article.