21st August 2017, 13:15 | steve_mascord

Home & Away: NRL Round 24

Home & Away: NRL Round 24

By STEVE MASCORD

ENGLAND star James Graham is tipped to become a Saint again – but in Wollongong, not Merseyside.

Reports in Australia suggest Newcastle have decided to sign New Zealand star Adam Blair in preference to Graham and St George Illawarra are now negotiating with the Bulldogs over a move for the 31-year-old.

Former referee Bill Harrigan speculated on radio at the weekend Graham was heading to the joint venture, where he would wear a strip very similar to the one he graced at St Helens for 225 games between 2003 and 2011.

JOE GREENWOOD: 30 tackles and five missed in Gold Coast’s 30-8 loss to Parramatta, coach Neil Henry’s final game in charge

GEORGE BURGESS: 34 minutes off the bench in the 36-18 win at ANZ Stadium, running 77 metres and making 24 tackles

The Bulldogs returned to the winners circle with a surprise 30-16 win over Manly at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.

“We felt a lot more confident,” said Graham. “We hung onto the ball a lot better, we managed our possession and we came up with some points, some tries.

“The attitude at training and in the dressing room has been pretty upbeat, all things considered. There are a lot of reasons or excuses for why it wouldn’t be.

“In a few of the weeks previous, just our confidence has been rattled a bit.

“For whatever reason tonight, the ball stuck.”

TOM BURGESS: 154 metres and 26 tackles in 34 minutes as Souths beat the Warriors

JOSH HODGSON: 43 tackles without a single miss in Canberra’s 26-22 defeat to Penrith

 

Another ex-Saint, Joe Greenwood, finds himself in the middle of an insurrection at Gold Coast with coach Neil Henry sacked on Monday.

A clash between Henry and star Jarryd Hayne has been highlighted in recent times but chief executive Graham Annesley said: “"There is a view that this is a player-driven outcome. If it was a player-driven outcome Neil would still be the coach. The board has a wider responsibility and they have a legal obligation as company directors to take what they believe to be the right decision in the circumstances for the club.

"It has nothing to do with personalities or particular points of view of individuals. It's about assessing all the information and hopefully making the right decision. Time will tell."

Henry will this weekend be replaced by caretaker coaches Craig Hodges and Terry Matterson

ELLIOTT WHITEHEAD: 48 tackles and 101 metres at GIO Stadium

GARETH WIDDOP: A try assist, two goals, seven tackles and five missed tackles as St George Illawarra crashed 24-12 to Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium

Canberra’s Elliott Whitehead has played stand-off and centre for the Green Machine this year but reckons he’ll be able to return to loose forward at the World Cup.

"I'm not sure, I've played back row all year so I'd expect to be playing back row for England come the end of the year," Whitehead said.

"We've got some great forwards that play for England, like Sam Burgess, the Burgess boys, James Graham that play over here. There's also some great forwards over in Super League that can fill the middle spot.

"I reckon I'd play back row if I got selected for England, but that's up to Wayne and I have to get selected first before anything."