James Graham was prepared to part with $200,000 of his own money to keep his best mate Josh Reynolds at the Canterbury Bulldogs.
Both players will depart Belmore at the end of the season as Reynolds joins the Wests Tigers and Graham takes up a three-year deal with St George Illawarra.
However during the club’s presentation night on Thursday, Bulldogs chairman Ray Dib revealed the Englishman wanted to surrender the big contract bonus he stood to earn in 2018.
“I want to share a story about James when we were negotiating Josh Reynolds’ contract,’’ Dib said.
“Nobody knows this story, but James rings me up and says, ‘Josh is important to this club, I know in my contract next year with the new salary cap there’s a ratchet clause in there, and for those people who don’t know what a ‘ratchet clause’ is, you get a percentage of increase in your contract if the salary cap goes up at any stage.
“It was a significant amount for James, but he said, ‘I don’t want it, I want you to contribute that to Josh Reynolds’ contract next year if that helps.’’
Graham later broke down in tears at the presentation evening as he was given a standing ovation for his stellar six years with the Bulldogs – three of which he spent as club captain.