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Graham: Players want to keep entertaining fans any way they can

The Sharks overcame one adversity in giving South Sydney a run for their money with three of Cronulla's best players on the sidelines but skipper Wade Graham suspects bigger hurdles are ahead.

While he says the players are bracing themselves for an empty Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Saturday when they take on heavyweights the Melbourne Storm, they are walking into a fog about the future of the 2020 season.

No one can see out the other side just yet.

Speaking to on Saturday night before the Warriors announced on Sunday morning that they would be remaining in Australia for their relocated round-two match against the Raiders, Graham says separation of players and families is a tough predicament.

Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett has suggested a Magic Round-style of competition with all 16 clubs quarantined in a northern Australia location – for the warm climate – for an unknown number of rounds.

Bennett has his say on coronavirus situation

"Three Magic Rounds? I haven't really thought about it until now," Graham told

"But for someone like myself it would be tough. My fiancée and I have an 18-month-old at home and she's now eight months pregnant.

"So it would be tough for me to leave for two weeks, or longer.

"It's a very fluid situation as we're guided by the NRL who are being guided by health experts.

"As players we'll keep an open mind. If we can keep our product out on the field for the fans to at least watch on TV, listen to on the radio, or read in the papers then we'll do it.

"If the powers that be think that is safe enough for us, then we're all happy to do that as strange as empty seats will feel."

The crowd was hardly throbbing in Saturday night's 22-18 loss to the Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium – 6235 turned up in an 80,000-seat venue.

But Graham liked the fight in his side, who were without Matt Moylan (calf), Josh Dugan (knee) and Bronson Xerri (shoulder). They also lost winger Ronaldo Mulitalo early after failing an HIA.

But the Sharks got within four points, after being down by 14 most of the second half, until a Connor Tracey pass to an unmarked Josh Morris close to the line was ruled forward in the last 90 seconds of play.

"He's alright [in the sheds]. The game was not won and lost there," Graham said.

"It's 80 minutes and Connor was another guy playing out of position [due to Mulitalo's injury] and did a good job there in the centres opposite James Roberts – a representative centre.

NRL confirms Round 2 to continue, Warriors to stay in Australia

"He can keep his head up. There were a lot of positives. So while I'm disappointed with the result and some errors late in the penalty count, we will bounce back better."

It was three tries apiece and the Sharks won many aspects of the contest – more run metres, more tackle breaks, received more penalties (13-6), made less tackles.

But the difference was Adam Reynolds not missing with his penalties and conversions and he and Cody Walker's kicking games – 646 metres to 362 to Cronulla's Chad Townsend and Shaun Johnson.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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