Graham finding feet as Panthers gel - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Graham finding feet as Panthers gel

By David Beniuk 26/06/2010 02:24:18 PM Comments (0)

You wouldn't know it watching Penrith's silkiest attacking performance of the year, but comeback kid Wade Graham says he's still trying to gel with the NRL high-flyers.

The 19-year-old five-eighth, touted as one of the game's next big things when he debuted in 2008, won back his prized No.6 jersey against Brisbane last weekend which he had lost after injury setbacks and the solid form of 2010 recruit Travis Burns.

With Burns carrying a hamstring injury, Graham looks to have seamlessly slotted into a Panthers outfit which is starting to silence its doubters with consecutive wins over the Broncos and, on Friday night, Manly.

The 40-22 thrashing of the Sea Eagles came on the back of some brilliant ball movement from Penrith, previously maligned for the high number of tries they have scored from kicks this season.

"It was always going to be different with me coming back into the side because me and Trav, we have really different sorts of games," Graham told AAP.

"That's what the first two weeks were obviously going to be about, getting my match fitness back and gelling back in with the team, with the style.

"Obviously we're going to have teething problems early on with getting the combinations back but I think now it's starting to come back for us." Graham's return from shoulder surgery is being helped by him playing second fiddle to halfback Luke Walsh and NSW lock Luke Lewis.

"Luke Lewis sort of plays a role as a second five-eighth and obviously he's a strike player so we're looking to get him the ball when we can," Graham said.

"I probably more just take a back seat to that and just slot in when I can and make my plays when I can." After injuring his shoulder in a pre-season trial, Graham played just three NSW Cup games before an ill-fated return to first grade three weeks ago against Newcastle.

He said the recovery from his first major operation had been tough.

"It was a big setback," he said.

"It was my first surgery and it was a real uphill battle because I sort of had first dibs on the six (jersey).

"Then the boys came out, they had a great start to the season, Trav was playing great footy and it was just an uphill battle.

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