Wade Graham has plans to return to the playing field, but it won’t be in 2021, with the Sharks skipper making the call to delay his comeback until the start of the 2022 season.
Sidelined since suffering a third head knock for the current year back in round 14, Graham has been hard at it training with those Sharks players not in Queensland and the Brisbane bubble, but circumstance has meant time has runout on a 2021 return.
The Covid complications and the strict regulations surrounding his re joining the playing group would eventually make the final call on Graham’s status this season an obvious one.
“We reached the decision that I won’t play again this year,” Graham said. “The decision was around my health and wellbeing, which is why I didn’t go to Queensland with the first group.
“I’m back here training well, feeling good, but I’m also back here facing new hurdles with the border restrictions and Covid and the game being relocated.
“I had three concussions (over four months). The last one was pretty bad. I knew at that stage, I couldn't continue on the path I was on and decided to get away from all contact and just rest,” he added.
However in alleviating the fears of friends, family and Sharks fans in general, Graham is in good health and has no plans just yet to call it quits on his 259-game NRL career.
“While ever I still feel like I can play, I'm not going to give it away - and that's how I feel right now,'' Graham said.
"I'm not looking to be a daredevil or anything, but I feel like I'm comfortable enough to still play and there's no reason why I shouldn't be playing,” he added.
A conversation with close friend Boyd Cordner, who himself hung up the boots due to repeated concussions, confirmed to Graham his situation was somewhat different and that he still had more to give next season and hopefully beyond.
"The stuff Boyd was explaining wasn't the case for me. I wasn't having headaches or symptoms, I was feeling pretty good,” Graham told the Daily Telegraph in a recent interview.
"There weren't days where I was really struggling. I haven't had that at all.
"I remember leaving Boyd with a sense of optimism that with time away from the game and taking the right advice, I could push on.
"I'm training at the moment, running and lifting and just getting healthy and fit and strong. I'm fit enough to play rugby league, to run, tackle - I'm as strong as I was in the pre-season.
"But it's important to give my brain a rest. That's what I'm doing, I'm giving it a rest. I'm giving it a chance to come back and continue.''