Rudolf to learn his NRL lesson after gaffe

·2-min read

Cronulla skipper Wade Graham says a baptism of fire will be a good lesson for Toby Rudolf after the Sharks forward inadvertently became the centre of NRL debate this week.

On Tuesday the NRL and Cronulla cautioned the 25-year-old Rudolf about his now viral response in a post-match interview with Fox Sports where he joked about going to a beach side hotel to "try and pull something, anything will do."

Rudolf then became the centre of public debate about whether the comment was disrespectful towards women or was the NRL pandering to political correctness.

By Thursday morning the issue was still a hot topic in sport, but Graham said he hopes Rudolf learns a lesson from the maelstrom.

"It's a situation that's happened and he'll take a lot from it personally moving forward but as you go through your career you face lessons all the time so hopefully he just learns from it and moves on," Sharks captain Graham said.

"He's fine. Toby is a bit of a character so he'll take his medicine and get on with it."

Under the guidance of Graham and senior players at Cronulla, Rudolf's natural outgoing personality has not been affected by the extra attention this week.

It comes as Graham prepares to play his 250th NRL game against Canberra on Sunday, after making his debut as a 17-year-old with Penrith.

Graham has spoken about his opposition to a blanket rule banning players under the age of 18 playing first grade although he felt like he was too young physically to play NRL when he debuted.

And with the NRL's recent exemption to allow Joseph Suaalii to debut before his 18th birthday, Graham said the Sydney Roosters are in the best position to decide if the schoolboy is physically and mentally ready.

"They see his physical performance and mental capacity at training every day," he said.

"If anyone is to make a decision it should be the coach and the club that support him.

"I doubt you'd ever see a club put a young guy out there who is at risk of hurting himself or isn't ready.

"(When I debuted) probably the physical toll of the game did take its toll on me over time.

"Playing one game here or there never really affects you too much but it's the week in and week out grind of the NRL that gets you.

"It's a tough game and the season is long and arduous on the body.

"I'm 30-years-old now so by the end of the year I'll be pretty bruised up and battered as will 95 per cent of NRL players."