James Graham could be on his way out of the Dragons. Picture: Jason McCawley/Getty Images
James Graham could be on his way out of the Dragons. Picture: Jason McCawley/Getty Images

Graham eyes shock release in Dragons shake-up

James Graham could make a shock immediate departure from St George Illawarra Dragons in a massive shake-up at the club.

The Dragons released a statement on Thursday morning revealing they were considering releasing the veteran prop "with immediate effect", but only if the club could secure a viable replacement.

The move comes just days after St George Illawarra's drought-breaking 30-16 win over bitter local rivals Cronulla in what was the Dragons' first victory of the 2020 season.

 

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Graham, who turns 35 in September, is in the final year of a three-year deal at the Dragons, having played more than 400 top-grade games in both England and Australia.

"St George Illawarra have been involved in discussions with Dragons forward James Graham and his management regarding an opportunity for him to return to the English Super League with immediate effect," the Dragons said in a statement.

"The Dragons will consider this option for Graham on the merit a replacement player is secured by the club prior to his release.

"The Dragons will be making no further comment regarding Graham at this stage."

 

James Graham celebrates after the Dragons’ Round 5 win over Cronulla. Picture: Craig Golding/AAP
James Graham celebrates after the Dragons’ Round 5 win over Cronulla. Picture: Craig Golding/AAP

 

St George Illawarra have already lost representative back-rower Tyson Frizell to Newcastle for next season, while winger Jason Saab is looking at quitting the club and has the Bulldogs chasing his signature.

Tristan Sailor has also been linked with a move elsewhere but the club has denied the outside back wants out.

It comes just days after veteran hooker Issac Luke departed the club to sign with Brisbane.

Luke's Dragons stint lasted just three games, with the former Warriors rake joining the injury ravaged Broncos for the rest of the year. Coach Paul McGregor was adamant other players would not follow him out the door.

Graham has been named at lock for Sunday's clash with last-placed Gold Coast.

It is understood St Helens are the favourites to land Graham, who played 224 games for the club before he moved to Australia in 2012.

St Helens reluctantly let go of prop Luke Thompson to join Graham's former club Canterbury this month.

The Dragons are hoping to have Jack de Belin available for selection as early as next week. The former NSW lock is back in court on Monday and his teammates said they would welcome him back to the side with open arms.

"He won't miss a beat if he comes in," Ben Hunt said.

"He'll be such a massive boost for us, not only with the ball, but defensively he's a great player. In defence he can really change a game, he'd be a huge boost for us."

The Dragons forward stocks have been tested with de Belin sidelined as well as Blues back-rower Tariq Sims for at least another month.

 

Originally published as Graham eyes shock release in Dragons shake-up



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