James Graham tells moaning Aussies England’s Denver Test is good for rugby league

JAMES Graham believes enduring the altitude in and travelling to Denver is a price worth paying as the Aussies continue to whinge.

He feels it is worth sacrificing some of himself for the good of rugby league.

 James Graham believes there is sometimes a price to pay for the good of international rugby league

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James Graham believes there is sometimes a price to pay for the good of international rugby league

The England prop endured months of moaning from the NRL and its clubs about that fact Wayne Bennett’s men are travelling to Colorado to face the Kiwis on Saturday, one pundit described the Test as ‘two-bit’, ‘mickey mouse’ and ‘dinky’.

First it was the travel to and from Australia, then it was the near 6,000 feet altitude in Colorado, then it was insurance in case of injury, then it was something else.

However, sources on both sides say their biggest problem really is that the Rugby Football League and New Zealand Rugby League beat them to it by signing a three-year deal worth in the region of £280,000 a year with promoters Moore Sports.

And former St Helens man Graham believes any short-term pain could result in much bigger long-term gain.

The St George-Illawarra star said: “I’m a huge advocate for international rugby league and sometimes you’ve got to pay a price for that.

 St George-Illawarra star Graham has seen months of moaning about England's trip to Denver in Australia

St George-Illawarra star Graham has seen months of moaning about England's trip to Denver in Australia

“It’s still a price worth paying though and we were very passionate about getting this game on and it has the potential to grow over the next three years. As a game, let’s think big.

“It was a strong campaign in the World Cup. We built something we want to continue on with.”

Hull star Jake Connor will make his England debut after making his way into coach Wayne Bennett’s 17-man squad, which will be revealed today.

England’s trip to Denver is their first game since losing 6-0 in last year’s World Cup final but New Zealand have gone to the extremes of banning sunglasses in the build-up – and it is all down to melatonin, a hormone regulated by light that can combat jet lag.

Their doctor, Greg McLeod, said: “When the guys go out for the next few days, just walking around or whatever, they should have no sunglasses to maximise the sun.”

 Hull FC star Jake Connor will make his England debut against New Zealand on Saturday

HULL FC
Hull FC star Jake Connor will make his England debut against New Zealand on Saturday

Meanwhile, Leeds have brought in record-equalling Featherstone winger Luke Briscoe, brother of Rhinos ace Tom, ahead of tonight's game with Catalans.

The 24-year-old equalled Eric Harris’ all-time British record by scoring a try in 17 successive games.

Now he has been brought back to the Rhinos after being released at the end of the 2015 season as boss Brian McDermott battles a crippling injury list.

JAMES Graham believes enduring the altitude in and travelling to Denver is a price worth paying as the Aussies continue to whinge.