Graham 'blindsided' by axing from Dragons

·1-min read

Retired rugby league player James Graham says he was "disappointed" and "blindsided" by St George Illawarra's decision to terminate his employment as part of an off-field clean-out.

Graham played 51 games for the Dragons between 2018 and 2020 and after retiring, had juggled regular media appearances with work at the club.

The 36-year-old served as a Dragons corporate ambassador and in the club's pathways program, helping to mentor emerging forwards, but was told this week his services were no longer required.

"I was blindsided by it. I'm not going to lie, I didn't see it coming," he told Triple M.

"I was told that the role would no longer be continued and that they were going to put that money into the sales department.

"I was disappointed, but if that's the direction the club wants to go then (so be it)."

Graham's termination comes less than two weeks after assistant coaches Peter Gentle and Mathew Head were told they would not be retained beyond this season.

Anthony Griffin's position as head coach has also been the subject of scrutiny in recent weeks, with rumours of player unrest surfacing in July.

The Dragons extended Griffin's contract through 2023 before this season began but are now staring down the very likely possibility of missing the finals for the second-straight year of his tenure.

A loss to local rivals Cronulla on Saturday night all but ends the Dragons' hopes of a top eight finish and would mark the longest finals drought in the club's history as a joint venture.

"It's a game we've got to win," Griffin said on Friday.

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