James Graham of the Bulldogs runs the ball during the round 13 NRL match against the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
James Graham of the Bulldogs runs the ball during the round 13 NRL match against the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Mark Nolan - Getty Images

Fitness is not the issue, says Graham

BULLDOGS forward James Graham has quashed the long held notion in some rugby league circles that English Super League players are not as fit as their NRL counterparts.

On the eve of the team's historic match against the Storm in Mackay on Sunday, the Englishman said the biggest difference between the competitions was the player talent.

"I think the fitness level required for both the NRL and English Super League are similiar. The biggest difference in the NRL is the spread of talent across the teams," Graham said.

"If you look at the talent in the NSW and Queensland sides, nearly all clubs are represented," he said. "You've got excellent players in the two sides from nearly all NRL clubs.

"Back home that is not the case. Looking at the England and Exiles match last week there were a few clubs supplying most of the players."

Graham played 220 matches for St Helens from 2003 to 2011 before switching to Canterbury when his contract expired with the English club at the end of 2011.

He said he was really enjoying playing under Des Hasler at the Bulldogs, praising the coach for leaving "no stone unturned" in preparing players physically and mentally for matches.

Graham also said he fully supported the club's decision to take the home game to North Queensland.

"It's a new thing for me, taking home games on the road. I'm all for it," he said. "Obviously Benny (Barba) is from there and he speaks highly of it.

"Just to play up in Queensland and see a new part of the world is pretty exciting for me."



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