James Graham lifts lid on former club and has his say on George Burgess’ Super League exit

James Graham will forever be remembered in the UK and Australia for how he played the game of rugby league.

The flame-haired enforcer would never take a backwards step as he poured his heart out for St Helens in Super League and Canterbury Bulldogs and St George Illawarra Dragons in the NRL.

And, he has now had his say on the Dragons and their aims for 2022 after a disappointing 2021 season.

“I know everyone in the group has really high aspirations but it’s going about their business week-to-week and learning from the lessons last year,” he told Fox Sports.

“I think consistency is the area that needs most improving and the moves coach Griffin made in the off-season will certainly help.

“For me, looking at how they went last year, a lot of the focus goes on the end of the season and how it finished. There was positive signs there at the beginning, it’s just whether or not they can maintain.

“What I’d like to see is learning from last year and applying themselves consistently.”

But, one particular star that he is keen to see back in action is George Burgess.

The rampaging prop spent eight seasons with the South Sydney Rabbitohs before signing for the Wigan Warriors in Super League.

His stay in Wigan was cut short after just eight appearances following a hip problem which needed major surgery.

That surgery was something which no rugby league player has ever come back from, but Burgess is ready to be the first.

“I know that face far too well so I’m excited to see how George comes through,” Graham continued.

“He’s saying all the right things and having seen him at training he’s looking considerably better than what he was a couple of years ago. He’s made comments about just how beneficial this pre-season has been to him.

“No doubt the first couple of hit outs will be pretty hard on him, it’s been a long time since he’s played but I know he’s got it in him.

“This next stage is just about George being fit again, being comfortable, being able to participate in training and work on his game without constantly thinking ‘my hip’s sore’ or spending time on the treatment table, or worrying about sitting in the car for too long — those sort of things that anyone that’s had lower back, hip or hamstring issues has to deal with.

“I think George probably managed for a number of years and that’s not exclusive to George, but I think he was wrapped in a bit of cotton wool and it was all about the performance on the weekend.

“The reality of it was that he needed this big hip operation. So I’m really looking forward to seeing him back firing in all cylinders because at his best I think there’s no one better.”

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