YOU can here a ‘purring’ in James Graham’s voice when he talks about playing for St Helens again.

That opportunity could be only three weeks away, with the England prop forward returning to the UK from Australia on Tuesday and Saints scheduled to rise from the coronavirus pandemic suspension against Catalans Dragons on Sunday, August 2.

Jammer, who served Canterbury Bulldogs and then St George Illawarra Dragons with distinction during nine years in the NRL, is excited about teaming up again with players he left behind and the others who steered Saints to Grand Final success last year.

Jonny Lomax and Tommy Makinson were in the early throes of their careers when Graham was captain in his final Saints season which concluded with a 2011 Grand Final appearance at Old Trafford.

“Both of those two I’ve got a pretty special bond with,” said the 34-year-old, who is understood to be in a week’s self isolation following his arrival from Down Under.

“They were almost like the babies of that team and I was so proud of them for representing England and Great Britain.

“Tommy Makinson has gone on to be a Golden Boot winner, Jonny Lomax holding down a regular position in the England team as well.

“So I’m delighted for those two on their personal journeys. I’m looking forward to being regular teammates with them again and standing alongside them because I know the quality that they bring and the competitors that they are.”

The special bond is there with Saints talisman James Roby, too.

“James and I were players in different amateur teams and then came together, came through the academy, and made our first-team debuts not too far apart,” said Jammer.

“He’s another lad I’ve stayed in touch with over the years and I’m excited to play with him again.

“He’s one hell of a player, in the way he keeps going and the things he does is pretty unbelievable at times. He’s a special player.”

And how does he feel he and fellow prop Alex Walmsley will complement each other on the field in the Red Vee, having played some matches together at international level.

“ I’ve got to get myself picked first,” said Graham.

“If we’re on the field together I’m sure we’ll be alright together and if there’s other combinations that Kristian Woolf thinks are going to work I’ll be alright for that too.

“But in terms of Alex, he’s one of the world’s best front-rowers. I’ve never played against him but it was a nightmare in a few training sessions we’ve had having to tackle him, so I know exactly what he can bring first-hand in training and then playing alongside him for England and Great Britain as well.”

He’s signed until the end of the season and says he’s ‘all in’ to help Saints to be as successful as possible this year.

“Then we’ll see where that takes us,” he said regarding 2021 and beyond.