Humble Graham thrilled for his mate
Wade Graham is many things in life, but he's not envious.
Having been overlooked for the 2016 Holden State of Origin series opener in favour of Roosters backrower Boyd Cordner, the 25-year-old had every right to be disappointed, but instead of complaining, he has vowed to support his friend.
Graham and Cordner have been mates off the field for a number of years and even travelled together to Bali at the end of 2015 where they were caught up on the Indonesian island due to a volcanic ash cloud from Mount Rinjani.
Instead of being bitter about his non-selection, Graham said he accepted the selectors' decision and told NRL.com that he would be cheering on his close friend come Wednesday night.
"We're really good mates. We went to Bali at the end of last year together so I'm stoked for him. He's done the job there for a number of years," Graham said when asked about his relationship with Cordner.
"I actually caught up for dinner with him last week so I'm super stoked for him. That's the thing; we're all mates in footy and the selectors are the ones who select the team, not the players.
"'Boydy' just happens to be the left-edge second rower for NSW and he's the man that’s going to do the job for them. I have no doubt that he's going to do a great job.
"The selectors have gone that way, which is out of my control, so I'm just going to sit back like every other person from NSW and cheer on the boys. Boydy is my mate so I can't wait to see him hopefully rip into Queensland and get the win for NSW."
Graham didn't limit his support to the Roosters second-rower, congratulating the Cronulla triumvirate of Andrew Fifita, James Maloney and Paul Gallen for making the squad.
"I'm pumped for Fifita for getting a recall, I'm pumped for Jimmy getting a recall and I'm obviously pumped for Gal captaining the team," he said.
"I've got a lot of good mates in the team so I'll be there on Wednesday – well I won't be at the game – but I'll be cheering them on and wishing them all the best."
While thrilled for his mates, Graham said he would have loved to have been given the chance to win back the shield for his state.
Still only young, he knows his time will come if he continues his impressive club form.
"Obviously I'm a little bit disappointed. I'd love to have the opportunity to play Origin one day," the Sharks backrower said.
"Definitely when you hear your name in the conversation and you're in the mix it makes you strive to be there. It's a long series so an opportunity for me might come at some other stage. I'm not going to kick stones."
A member of the Emerging Blues camp at the start of the year, the Indigenous All Stars representative was widely tipped to fight his way into NSW coach Laurie Daley's side for the series opener on June 1.
Graham said he avoided any outside noise about his possible call-up because he knew deep down that he was impressing the people that mattered most; his teammates.
"You hear the chatter but I don't really watch too many of those shows to tell you the truth," the 25-year-old said.
"I don't have any self-doubt. I think a lot of the time it just comes down to opportunity. If you get the opportunity to do it then you need to make the most of the chance. If you miss out on the opportunity it doesn't necessarily reflect on anything you're doing wrong.
"I knock around down here every day with Michael Ennis, Luke Lewis and Paul Gallen – all players who have played at the highest levels. I have no problem looking them in the eye and knowing that I'm doing the right things.
"Hopefully an opportunity will come one day where I get the opportunity to taste what it's like to be on that stage."