Sharks teammates tipped for City v Country captaincy
They faced off as skippers last time City and Country clashed but the difference for Wade Graham and James Maloney is they're now Sharks teammates.
Graham and Maloney made their respective captaincies debuts in Wagga Wagga in last year's edition of the annual clash and they have been tipped to do the same when the two teams face off in Tamworth on May 8.
The Sharks vice-captain Graham was complimentary of Maloney however and said he has played a huge part in the Sharks' current five-game winning streak.
"Jimmy is a good dude. I get along well with him. He's a bit of a larrikin and he doesn't take things too seriously. He's a bit like myself being a little bit of a throwback so it'll be good to come up against him," Graham told NRL.com.
"He's a class player and he's been playing great for us and there's no doubt he'll produce that form. He's a big-time player and he's certainly making a difference for us.
"We're still developing as a team and obviously the more we develop the better he's going to be for the Sharks."
On potentially skippering the City Origin team again, Graham said he feels inclined to help the group's younger players digest their representative debuts.
It's an important factor considering City coach Brad Fittler has been inclined to name a handful of youngsters in recent seasons.
The likes of Waqa Blake, Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Kane Evans were an example of City's younger debutants in 2015.
"When I'm in a position like that, I try to make sure that the boys coming into the team for the first time really enjoy their week and that they make the most of it," Graham said.
"For a lot of them it's their first rep jersey and their first chance to show what they've got on a representative stage so I try to make sure too that they get the most out of the game.
"Freddy isn't afraid to back his own judgement and to pick guys who he thinks can get the job done which I'm sure he'll do again this year.
"He always makes the week enjoyable for the boys and he makes all the younger ones feel more than welcome and as confident as they can be."
Graham added he wasn't allowing himself to overthink the possibility of a potential State of Origin debut later this year.
"For me it's about performing consistently at a high level for Cronulla. I know if I'm doing that then hopefully I'm in the conversation," he said.
"If ever the opportunity arises then hopefully I'll be ready to take it. I don't tend to think about it though."