FORMER skipper James Graham made a winning return to the club he left nine years ago.

And it seemed old things never change - with the flame-haired prop forward leading from the front in taming the early Dragons fire.

There were some nice touches too, with his ability to offload being infectious, with Saints forwards having the confidence to set up the second phase a lot more.

Graham, who enjoyed nine seasons in the NRL with Canterbury Bulldogs and then latterly St George-Illawarra, brings heaps of experience and has desire and will-to-win in spades which is already rubbing off on his teammates.

Coach Kristian Woolf paid tribute to the veteran prop's individual impact and his influence on the wider team .

"I don’t think you can have a better bloke in your group in terms of helping young forwards to become better players," Woolf said.

"That is the real value of James. He is good player in himself, but he is going to help other players become better by being in his presence.

"I thought he did that great against Catalans.

"He has a real win at all costs attitude and is a tough so-and-so and that is why he has such a good history in the game.

"That is why he is so well thought of – that is exactly what he brought to us in the opener."