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24 Nov 2017 0:10
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Graham embraces Kangaroos RLWC role

    Wade Graham is one of three players set to make their Kangaroos debut in the Rugby League World Cup opener against England.

    - article from

    He may have just turned 27 but Wade Graham is confident he can wind back the clock.

    Graham has been given first at crack at being the Kangaroos' utility after being handed his debut in Friday's Rugby League World Cup opener on Friday.

    The Cronulla star is likely to spend time in his preferred position in the second row, but is certain to be moved into the halves should one of the playmakers suffer injury.

    Graham spent almost half of his 10-year NRL career as a five-eighth, the majority of which came early in his career at Penrith.

    He was trialled there at various stages during Australia's warm-up match in Fiji a fortnight ago.

    "It'd be different but I'll go out there and do my job the best I can," Graham said on Wednesday.

    "Fortunately for me I've played in the role over the last couple of weeks in the warm-up games and I'll be making sure I'm prepared to play whatever position I have to play."

    Graham's selection allows coach Mal Meninga to carry four forwards on his bench against an England side boasting the likes of James Graham, Sam Burgess and his brother Tom.

    "That's the role I've been given, which I'm more than happy to do," Graham said.

    "Depending on how the game goes, I could end up anywhere or everywhere. Whether I play 20 minutes or two minutes, I'll just do what the team needs me to do and what Mal is looking for.

    "Whatever way I can contribute, I'm happy to do."

    Graham is one of three rookies named by Meninga to pull on the green-and-gold jersey for the first time, along with Dane Gagai and Jordan McLean.

    However, Graham had even more reason to celebrate, with teammates handing the NSW State of Origin representative a birthday cake during their day off on Wednesday.

    The Kangaroos finalise preparations with Thursday's captain's run at AAMI Park.

    "Obviously it's a pretty special moment when Mal read the team out and my name was in there," Graham said.

    "A lot of emotions, very excited, and I can't wait for Friday.

    "Playing against the English, traditional rivals of Australia, it doesn't get much better.

    "I can only say excited so many times before it starts getting worn out but that's the emotion right now."

    Graham insisted he wasn't using his first Test as an opportunity to establish himself as the long-term solution as the utility.

    "Three weeks ago we got picked in this team and that was a dream come true," he said.

    "Now I'm about to play my first Test for Australia so I haven't looked much further than that.

    "We'll see how this tournament goes and hopefully I can play well and just do my job for Australia.

    "Whatever happens in the future, happens in the future."


    © 2017 NZN, NZCity

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