Graham: ‘I’m just loving footy at the moment’

Published 12:00pm 31 August 2023

Graham: ‘I’m just loving footy at the moment’
Words by Kylie Knight

Dolphins young gun Harrison Graham has relished his chance to play in the NRL side this season and is keen to continue to develop as a player and a person under Wayne Bennett in 2024.

Before then, he and his teammates have one more chance to finish the season on a high against the Warriors this Saturday at Suncorp Stadium (3pm kick-off).

“I’m just loving it, hey … being here every day … got a good crew, good people around at the club. It’s a good environment. I’m just loving footy at the moment,” Graham told Moreton Daily at training yesterday. See photos from training at the end of this story.

“One more (game) to go (this season) … hopefully we can put our best foot forward and give the fans what they want.”

Jesse Bromwich is back for the Dolphins for the match against the Warriors as part of the Dolphins' Thank You Members Round.

The skipper missed last week’s loss to the Cowboys with a groin strain but has been named in his number eight jersey.

Jarrod Wallace goes back to the bench, where he will sit alongside Max Plath.

Plath, who made his NRL debut in the corresponding match against the Warriors in round 14, replaces JJ Collins on the interchange list.

Josh Kerr is out after taking an early guilty plea and a one-match suspension yesterday and the Dolphins’ backline remains unchanged.

The Warriors have had an outstanding season and sit third on the ladder. The Dolphins are 14th on 22 points ahead of the Bulldogs (20 points), Dragons (16 points) and Wests Tigers (14 points).

Graham says this weekend’s game will be his sixth in the NRL. He will play hooker, replacing the injured Jeremy Marshall-King (shoulder).

The 21-year-old has endured his own challenges this season, injuring his MCL in a trial game against the Cowboys in February.

“I’m feeling alright now. The knee was a 12-week injury, so I was pretty shattered at the start of the year but not long after bounced in my first NRL game, so I was stoked about that,” he recalls.

Graham: ‘I’m just loving footy at the moment’

Learning curve

The injury and subsequent recovery have been opportunities to learn.

“I’ve had to be patient with injuries and stuff like that, be resilient and keep working hard and try to do the best thing by my body and do all the little extra things right,” he says.

“Being under Wayne, as well, he gives good feedback and advice and you just take that on. It just helps better your game.

“Being my first fulltime season in the NRL, I’m just kinda learning my way through and learning from the other boys as well, taking day by day and trying to better myself as a person as well.”

He is also learning plenty from the side’s leadership players, not just about footy.

“We could look at it in a footy way just in wrestling and stuff – Jesse Bromwich, Kenny, Felise Kaufusi … they all add little different things they’ve learnt down in the Melbourne system.

“(But also) just life in general … there’s a few of us who go out and play golf on our days off. There’s more to life than just footy, you know. Just doing extra things outside.”

It’s all about creating a balance.

“When you’re around it every day, every week … there’s other things that you can do to take your mind off footy. Golf is probably one for me and a few of the other boys,” he says.

|“Wayne’s been really good. He’s a people person, so he knows how to manage the person in the best way. He knows the person and how to coach them which probably makes him so special, I guess in that way.|

“Just giving me little pieces of advice each week to work on. For example, getting my tackling a bit lower than being a bit higher into contact because I’m a small body. I take everything on from Wayne.”

He is already looking forward to preseason training and enhancing his attacking ability and defence, so he can play more NRL games next season.

So, what has been a standout, special moment this season?

“Definitely my debut. It’s a dream come true. You dream about playing footy when you’re younger and being on the big stage. That day came, so I was stoked to get that one,” he says.

“Probably another highlight was the first game at Suncorp against the Roosters, seeing the Dolphins run out for the first time. I think that was special to a lot of people.”

See photos from training (click through)

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