It was announced last week that it’s soon to be the end of an era at St Helens RFC – I’m talking, of course, about the imminent retirement of James Graham.

Currently in his second stint at the club following his return from an outstanding career in the NRL with both Canterbury Bulldogs and St George, Jammer has decided this season will be his last, and is no doubt hoping to go out with Grand Final success.

A treble winner, 475-game veteran and former Man of Steel, James also picked up his golden chevron for his 50th International appearance for both England and Great Britain last year.

He has been an outstanding servant to our great game, from his early years at local amateur clubs Blackbrook and Thatto Heath who he always speaks highly of, going on to sign for his beloved Saints, playing for the Academy before making his first team debut in Aug 2003.

I had the pleasure of playing alongside Jammer for a number of seasons, and it’s no surprise to me that he has gone on to achieve all he has within the game. His energy on the field and dedication to winning are a great example to any young player coming through.

It was no doubt a massive decision for James to hang up the boots, but I’m sure he won’t be lost to the game with his ambition to move into coaching.

Let’s hope before that he is picking up the Betfred Super league trophy on Friday 27 November at the KCOM Stadium in Hull.

Alongside James moving on to pastures new, there are set to be further changes to the Saints 2021 - Joseph Paulo and Jack Ashworth are set to leave the club, with new signing Joel Thompson joining the current Super League champions from NRL club Manly.

Word on the street is Saints are interested in also bringing Sione Mata’utia, brother of Castleford star Peter, to the UK.

The Newcastle Knights back-rower, 24, who is still the youngest player to represent Australia as an 18-year-old back in 2014, would strike up a fearsome back row with Thompson if the deal can be made.

Another forward rumoured to be of interest to strengthen Kristian Woolf’s squad is 23-year-old Dan Norman of the London Broncos, formerly of Widnes.

The former England Schoolboy would add great competition for places alongside those previously mentioned, and the likes of James Bentley and Dom Peyroux.

Back to the Betfred Super League, and it’s all change at the top with local rivals Wigan Warriors knocking us off top spot, following the 18-6 derby win last Friday. After an excellent start to the game and taking a 6-nil lead following a Lachlan Coote converted try, I felt Saints fell into the trap of trying to out-Wigan Wigan!

By that I mean we got too consumed trying to be the more aggressive and got away from the things that were giving us success early on by playing smart.

You need to be aggressive in these games, and as a spectator I thought it was the game of the year so far, with both teams going toe-to-toe for the 80 mins... but at times we were more concerned about trying to bash players than being effective on defence, and at times lost our way on attack.

No doubt a massive hole was created by the missing Alex Walmsley who I feel was very unfortunate to pick up a suspension for a crusher tackle in the previous game. All credit to the Warriors though, deserving winners in a great game of Rugby League.

Finally, we have recently found out the Toronto Wolfpack have been refused admission back into the Betfred Super League for the 2021 season.

I fully understand people’s concerns about allowing them back in, following their collapse and financial troubles this season – however, with a new owner, who I believe was willing to stand all monies owed to current players and staff and come up with a long term business plan for the club, I did hope that a lot of the great work and publicity the Wolfpack have brought since their introduction into RL could be resurrected.

I’m very surprised (not really) this has been voted against by a number of current Super League clubs and stakeholders.

At the end of the day, the game is struggling commercially and our major investment comes from our broadcast deal with Sky, which I’m sure Toronto involved would give SL far more ammunition ahead of the next negotiations. I’m a fan of expansion, and see it is the only way if our game is to grow and compete with other sports.