The evolution is complete, with Wade Graham still possessing the skills and smarts of the half or five eighth he once was, but now playing with the toughness of the edge backrower he has now become.
An uncompromising defender but a player perhaps more known for the variety of options he has at his disposal in attack, Graham played all three Origin games for NSW and was also a major contributor back at the Sharks during the 2017 season.
Other than the two games he missed while on Origin duty, Graham was absent just once for the Sharks this past year despite battling niggling injury at various stages, showing his ability to play through pain while still having a major impact on his teams’ results.
Formed a solid combination with five eighth James Maloney and his left centre partner Ricky Leutele, with the trio causing plenty of havoc for opposition defences throughout the season.
Still just 26 but with 200 NRL games under his belt, Graham may just have his best football ahead of him, which is an exciting prospect for Sharks coaching staff and fans alike.
Toured PNG with the Prime Minister’s XIII and in line for his first Kangaroo call up at the World Cup, 2017 was another high-quality year from one of the Sharks best and most consistent performers.
Season highlight: For Graham, playing all three Origin’s was likely a personal highlight, even though the eventual result went against the Blues, however back on the home front his most productive outing came early in the 2017 season. In a round two match in Canberra, won 42-16 by the Sharks, Graham eclipsed his try scoring tally of 2016 in that one game, crossing for a hat trick of four pointers in the victory. Add to that three line breaks and a try assist and it was a big afternoon for the Sharks backrower.
2017 Stats: Wade Graham
Games played: 22
Run Metres: 2450
Average run metres: 111.4
Hit ups: 222
Average hit ups: 10.1
Line breaks: 10
Off loads: 24
Try Assists: 5
Average tackles: 25.8