Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan is confident Wade Graham has avoided a serious groin injury after he missed the second half of the Sharks’ win over Canberra on Friday.
Graham was one of the Sharks’ best in the opening 40 minutes on Friday night as he bagged one try, but he failed to return after half-time in the 28-24 win.
It prompted fears of another injury for the Sharks co-captain, who has missed games through both hamstring woes, a cheekbone injury and suspension already this year.
But Flanagan said he’d only kept the 27-year-old off as a precaution with scores at 22-6 in his team’s favour before the Raiders launched a second-half comeback.
“He could’ve continued on. It was a bit of a risk for us to take him off at halftime,” Flanagan said.
“We’ve got a short turnaround into next Thursday night (against Brisbane).
“So at halftime we thought it was the right decision to take him off. I would’ve liked him out there in the second half in hindsight.”
Graham’s opening 40 minutes was among the best of his season as the Sharks moved at least momentarily into the top four.
He helped the Sharks have the Raiders down to 12 men after he hoisted a bomb high for Canberra fullback Brad Abbey to spill, prompting a professional foul from Jordan Rapana.
He also had a hand in Cronulla’s second try as part of a dangerous left-edge moment that saw Jesse Ramien cross, before he had on of his own just before the break.
Fullback Valentine Holmes was also again great for the Sharks, finishing the match with three linebreaks to go with a first-half try.
The 22-year-old also pulled off a try-saver on Canberra hooker Josh Hodgson, capping off a week where Flanagan confirmed he’d remain fullback even when Josh Dugan returned from a leg injury.
“He dropped a pressure kick there, that was the only blight on his game,” Flanagan said.
“He was dangerous every time he carried the football. He’s playing some good footy at the moment.”