Graham upbeat despite contract stress - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Graham upbeat despite contract stress

By Ben Horne 10/07/2010 03:51:34 PM Comments (0)

Penrith playmaker Wade Graham is upbeat about his NRL season despite contract talks indicating he may be on the verge of leaving his junior club.

The Panthers are close to securing a long-term deal with star centre Michael Jennings, and will then focus on re-signing NSW debutant Michael Gordon and Kiwi second rower Frank Pritchard.

If all that comes through, it will make it difficult for the Panthers to hold on to promising playmaker Graham, who has been a schoolboy and lower-grade star out west.

North Queensland are leading the charge to sign Graham, with Cronulla also in pursuit, however the 19-year-old said he is far from worn down by pressures of contract negotiation.

Graham has finally cemented his place permanently in the Panthers No.6 jersey and is focused on giving his side a lift into the finals.

"I wouldn't say (contract talks) have been a distraction," Graham told AAP.

"They've been there, it's been weird because I've never had to really deal with it on the big scope before.

"Now it's out there and Penrith have a lot of boys off-contract and there's a bit of interest from other clubs but probably the bonus for me is it's like the start of my season.

"I missed three to four months with my shoulder surgery and then I spent another month in (reserves) trying to get back in the team and now I'm back, it's like my season is just kicking off.

"Obviously I've got some big decisions to make but I'm pretty calm at the moment."

The Blacktown City junior admits he hasn't heard much from Penrith at this stage but said if they can manage a competitive deal his preference would be stay.

Graham is in no rush but won't let things drag out too long.

"I think they're trying to get a deal done with Jenko now, I think that's pretty close to getting done," he said.

"Obviously they have Frankie and Micky but I'm going to have to sort something out because I haven't really heard much for Penrith yet.

"I'm a Penrith boy through and through, I'd love to stay.

"If we can get something done where I can stay then obviously that's going to be my first choice here because this is where my home is, my family, I grew up my whole life just wanting to play for Penrith."

Jerome Ropati will again start at fullback for the Warriors with Lance Hohaia ruled out with injury.

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