Injured Graham might not miss a game
It was better to be safe than sorry for Cronulla skipper Wade Graham, who didn't return in the second half of Friday night's nerve-wracking 28-24 home win over Canberra after aggravating a nagging groin injury.
The ball-playing back-rower hasn't had much luck this season, suffering two hamstring injuries, concussion, a broken cheekbone and now an ongoing groin injury.
And even though the Raiders had Graham sitting on the edge of his seat as they clawed their way back in the second half at Southern Cross Group Stadium, he knows there are more important games to come in the run to the finals.
"I felt like I could have kept playing in the second half. It was just the risk factor of doing further damage," Graham said after the win.
"It was something we managed throughout the week but I felt it for the majority of the first half then after cooling down at half-time we made that decision to play it safe.
"Tough to watch the second half, I almost put the boots back on there for minute. But we have a big run coming home and it's better to be good at the back end than now."
Graham has missed six games in 2018 due to injury but the 27-year-old remains hopeful of finishing the season strongly if can get his body in peak physical condition.
"It's very frustrating but to be honest I feel good every time I come back," Graham said.
"I feel like I'm straight in the rhythm with Matty (Moylan) and my edge. It's just these little things that keep popping up so I'm hoping to iron all these creases out and head into the back end of the year and really have a strong finish."
Despite an injury-disrupted season, not just for Graham but also a number of his teammates, confidence remains high among the Sharks six games out from the finals.
The Sharks are in Brisbane next Thursday for a high stakes round 20 battle with the Broncos.
"There was a fair bit of time when we weren't all training together because of injuries, and also positional changes with Matty Moylan coming to a new club in the halves, it was always going to take time (for combinations to form)," Graham said.
"But we do talk a lot of footy and it feels like every time we get an opportunity to play we are putting the combinations to work. Hopefully we can keep building on that and come the end of the season we really do some damage.
"If we can get all our injured blokes back on the park and put a months' footy together, then hopefully our best footy is still in front of us. We'll look to keep improving so that come the end of the year we are playing our best footy."