Graham to notch up 100 for Cow­boys

Townsville Bulletin - - Bizfi Nd - by Michael Thompson michael. thompson@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

A DOSE of vi­ral con­junc­tivi­tis i sn’t go­ing t o stop A s h l e y G r a h a m f r o m cel­e­brat­ing his 100th game for the North Queens­land Cow­boys tonight.

Graham had just come back f rom a visit t o t he eye spe­cial­ist when he spoke to me­dia at Cow­boys head­quar­ters yes­ter­day and in­sisted his in­fected eye felt bet­ter than it looked.

The 2 6 - year-ol d Cairns­born player picked up the in­fec­tion some­time last week along with team­mates Glenn Hall and Wil­lie Tonga.

‘‘ The old pink eye . . . it’s some­thing that I’ll be try­ing not to pass around to too many p l a y e r s , ’ ’ Graham said.

‘‘ It won’t af­fect my per­for­mance at all, I guess I al­ways wanted to play for the Cow­boys as a young fella so to be able to play 100 games for the club is some­thing that I’m re­ally proud of.’’

Graham made his de­but for the Cow­boys in 2006 against Cronulla at Shark Park and has go on to be­come a highly prized as­set.

Coach Neil Henry was glowing in his praise of Graham’s 80-minute show­ing against the Bron­cos last week, call­ing it per­haps the three-quar­ter’s best game for the club since Henry took over the coach­ing reins in 2009.

Graham cov­ered 138 me­tres from 14 runs in team sta­tis­tics bet­tered only by Matt Bowen.

‘‘ I guess he ( Henry) sees things I prob­a­bly don’t see on the field, but for that to come from him is pretty im­por­tant,’’ Graham said.

Ash Graham

‘‘ It’s been a pretty long off sea­son so to get out there and to put in a good per­for­mance was f ai r l y pl eas­ing, but there’s def­i­nitely parts of ( my) game that I can im­prove and I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to do­ing that.’’

Graham gets his op­por­tu­nity against a ra­zor sharp New­cas­tle back­line that in­flicted heavy dam­age on the Pen­rith Pan­thers in a 42-8 blitz last week.

‘ ‘ They’ve defi nit el y got some pow­er­ful blokes in t h e i r b a c k l i n e , t h e y ’ r e dan­ger­ous on both sides of the field as well as up the mid­dle,’’ Graham said.

‘‘ I think if we can limit t h e i r o p p o r t u n i t i e s a n d re­ally get up in their face it’ll go a long way to win­ning the game for us.’’

On Graham’s mind in par­tic­u­lar is the im­por­tance of shut­ting out New­cas­tle trys c o r i ng ma­chine Akuila Uate, the man who wreaked much of the dam­age in last week’s Pen­rith de­mo­li­tion.

‘‘ He’s fast, he’s strong, he can step off both feet, so he’s def­i­nitely some­one we’ve got to watch out for be­cause he can re­ally turn a game on its head,’’ Graham said.

The Cow­boys failed to man­age back-to-back wins in 2010 and Graham wants no re­peat of that statis­tic this sea­son.

‘‘ It’s def­i­nitely some­thing that’s im­por­tant for us, I mean the first home game of the year ob­vi­ously we want to set a tone for the sea­son mak­ing this a dif­fi­cult place for teams to come,’’ he said.

‘‘ We want to build from last week, I think if we can string two to­gether then that’ll get our sea­son off to a re­ally good start.’’

And while the 100-game mile­stone is a sig­nif­i­cant one for the Cairns Kan­ga­roos ju­nior, ap­par­ently Prince Wil­liam thinks other­wise fol­low­ing news he won’t be ap­pear­ing at Dairy Farm­ers Sta­dium for tonight’s match.

‘ ‘ S h u c k s , s h a t t e r e d , ’ ’ Graham said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.