Graham Not Surprised By Kangaroos Snub
Cronulla Sharks back-rower Wade Graham admits he was not surprised to have been overlooked for Australian selection in Mal Meninga's Kangaroos side to play the Kiwis on May 5 in Canberra.
Meninga announced a 20-man squad on Wednesday with Valentine Holmes the lone Sharks player to make the starting line-up for the defending premiers.
James Maloney is on standby as 19th man for injured Cowboys skipper Johnathan Thurston.
Former Australian international Andrew Fifita was also overlooked with the coach opting for a similar squad to the 2016 Four Nations campaign.
"I don't think it's any secret which way Mal [Meninga] was going to go. He's shown in the past when he was coaching Queensland and now Australia that he is loyal and sticks solid," Graham said before training on Wednesday.
"It's not for me to judge, I'm not the selector or coach. I certainly would love the opportunity to play at that level and I see some of the guys that do play and I have every confidence.
"There is no use crying over 'what-ifs' – you've just got to get on with the job. There is a lot of talent across the NRL, unfortunately for me those boys have got their foot in the door from previous years and I completely understand that.
"Other than the changes forced with injury, I don't think anyone was expecting too many changes."
The 27-year-old said with the representative season fast approaching that it was hard not to look forward to the prospect of playing in the Origin arena and international fixtures in the coming months and at the end of the season.
"It's obviously a goal to be apart of that squad [for the World Cup at the end of the year] but there is a lot of time between now and then," he said.
"Generally the teams that have success find that their players get into those squads so all I can keep doing is playing here at Cronulla and over the next three weeks my focus will be on trying to play my best footy leading into Origin.
"The back-row for the Blues is a tough position to get into because of the quality of players around so that will be my short-term focus.
"I just need to stay patient and keep working hard."
Sharks teammate Matt Prior believes Graham should have been picked for the Anzac Test match after a strong individual start to the year on the left edge.
"[Wade's] been hard done by there, he has been playing good footy not only this year but last year so I'm disappointed for him," Prior said of Graham.
"He's been huge in defence and his leadership around the club has been great, he's developed into a great player and I'm sure he's going to get there in years to come.
"The form that he's been in you'd think would be warranted, but sometimes it's just not the case."
This article first appeared on NRL.com