Graham quits Saints for Down Under dream

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The Independent Online

England forward James Graham revealed one of the sport's worst-kept secrets when he confirmed he would be leaving St Helens at the end of the season to try his luck in Australia's National Rugby League. The 25-year-old prop, who is out of contract with Saints in November, has a three-year deal with Canterbury Bulldogs.

Graham will be the third England international to make the move to Australia in the last three and a half years, aiming to follow in the successful footsteps of Sam Burgess and Gareth Ellis, who are with South Sydney and Wests Tigers respectively. Another England player, utility back Gareth Widdop, is at Melbourne, while former Wigan loose forward Mark Flanagan is with Wests Tigers. They have been joined by George Burgess at Souths, while Mike Worrincy is plying his trade at Penrith.

Graham had made no secret of his desire to test himself in the NRL. The St Helens chairman, Eamonn McManus, said: "We did everything practical to persuade James to stay but ultimately we respect his wishes and ambitions absolutely. There comes a point where you have to just shake his hand and wish him every luck in his new career and life.

"James will be remembered as one of the all-time greats of the club, even at the age of 25."