Disappointed Cronulla back-rower Wade Graham has handled his Origin disappointment with dignity and class, insisting the Blues needs to move on and expressing his support for close mate and replacement in the NSW squad Tyson Frizell.
Frizell was a Shark when Graham joined the club in 2011 and the pair were at the club together for two seasons before Frizell moved to the Dragons, and Graham said the Wales international's recent form warrants a Blues jersey.
"Me and Tyson have been mates for a long time. He was actually at Cronulla when I first came to the club so I've known him since I was 19. I'm stoked for him," Graham said from Blues camp in Coffs Harbour on Thursday morning having flown back up to re-join the squad.
"He was 18th man last Origin camp. He's been playing tremendous footy at the Dragons and he deserves his shot. He's going to be great, I'm stoked for him he's going to get to play in the blue jersey and I can't wait to see him play."
Graham, who will remain with the squad in Coffs harbour until they depart for Brisbane on Sunday, will make a decision at a later point as to whether he continues on with the team to Brisbane.
He put his disappointment to one side and said he will do everything he can to help the team out where he can.
"Obviously last night was tough but I've had a night to sleep on it. The reality has sunk in that I won't be playing in the game so I'm grateful for being back up into camp, I'll enjoy the next few days and help out the best I can around here and help the boys prepare and I can't wait to watch them play now on Wednesday," Graham said.
"At the end of the day there's nothing we can do about it. Me and as a team, it's time to move on for all of us. It's the best way to go, it's the only way to go and that's what we'll be doing.
Graham said from the moment the judgement was handed down he had been looking forward to coming back into camp.
"Obviously it's tough that I'm not playing but any way I can help, any little way I can help I'll be doing my best," he said.
"Obviously I'll sit down with 'Loz' [coach Laurie Daley] and work out when I can fit in the drills and when I can help out the boys when they need extra numbers I'll be there and I'm happy to spend a week around the boys."
Graham refused to lash out at the grading system that has rubbed him out of a dream Origin debut for the lowest chargeable offence.
"It is disappointing how it all went over a grade one but I'm not the first player to miss out on a big game and I probably won't be the last either. It's just an unfortunate incident, there's nothing we can do about it. It is what it is and it's just time for us to move on," he said.
"It was an accident on the footy field but unfortunately it's been a costly accident for me. It's done and it's time for all of us to move on.
"It's been a long term goal of mine to play in a Blues jersey. It's just another setback. It's just up to me now to go back to Cronulla and play good football and next time an opportunity comes hopefully be ready."
He said he couldn't afford to look at this setback as a missed opportunity that may be as close as he ever gets to an Origin debut.
"For me to move forward I have to dream to play again and get back to Cronulla and be determined to play well and to be here the next time the team's selected so that's the way I'm looking at it. I haven't looked at it any other way since the ruling," he said.
Graham added that Daley had expressed his sympathies straight after the judiciary ruling on Wednesday night.
"He let me know how disappointed he was for me. He's obviously had me in the system on the fringes for a long time and he knows how much the jersey meant to me," Graham said.
"He just expressed how sorry he felt for me but that's last night. Today's about preparing for next Wednesday and getting the team right. I'm happy there's been a resolution on my part, from now on it's just about getting the team ready to play next Wednesday and that's what my focus is on now."
This article first appeared on NRL.com
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