He hits with force in defence, can run hard at the line with the ball or play with skill and finesse, attributes which explain why Wade Graham was a popular and worthy winner of the 2017 Sharks Members Player of the Year award.
Announced at the Monty Porter Medal Night on Monday, Graham was honoured to accept the award voted on by the Sharks members.
“Not wanting to go back to 2016 but we had so many members not so much congratulate us but who said thanks for winning the premiership. Some had waited a long time,” Graham said upon accepting the award. “So I’m proud to win this award which is given out by the members who turn up to support us every week.”
Our record breaking 15,633 Members played a huge part in the 2017 season, with huge crowds at Southern Cross Group Stadium throughout the year providing outstanding atmosphere for the players to enjoy.
The highlight was a sell-out crowd of 20,497 against the Bulldogs in Round 12 but it wasn’t just at home, with the boys were also welcomed with great support on the road, in particular on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane where thousands of our Members turned out.
As for their choice of Player of the Year, it was another season where Graham’s development continued, playing all three Origin games for NSW and other than the two matches he was forced to sit out due to his commitments for NSW, the skilful backrower played all but one Sharks match he was available for in 2017.
In those 22 outings he crossed for five tries, but it was his ability to influence those around him which stands him out as a special player and someone now in the forefront of selectors minds when the representatives teams are selected.
Graham will travel to Papua New Guinea next week to play for the Prime Minister’s XIII in what is in essence a trial for the upcoming World Cup. He certainly wouldn’t look out of place in Australian colours.
One of four nominees for the Monty Porter Medal, edged out by his skipper Paul Gallen, Graham was nonetheless extremely worthy of the Member’s Player of the Year honour.