Sweep up that smashed coffee mug from the kitchen floor. Apologise to your mum for destroying her fine china. Find a way to say sorry to your dad for butchering his flower garden out the back. Wade Graham is the best edge forward of all time – and there’s literally nothing you can do about it.
OK, faked cockiness aside – I’m sure dad’s garden is doing just fine – Wade Graham is an absolute monster of a player. An absolutely mesmeric player. A world-class player in the very top, top echelon of world-class players.
I can’t think of any other edge forward – past or present – who is or was as complete as Wade Graham.
Want an extra five eighth? Wade’s your man. Want someone as hard as nails? Wade’s your man.
Want a deft, left foot kicking game that is up there with the very best? Wade’s your man. Want someone to bash the opposition pack into submission? You know what comes next.
And so the uproar likely goes, “Did you ever see Gorden Tallis play? What about Sonny Bill Williams? He doesn’t even start for New South Wales!”
Yes, all fair arguments – all easily refutable too.
Tallis could occupy two of the aforementioned four in-game roles. Yes, he could do them better than most – likewise for Williams, and probably more complete than Tallis too.
Sonny Bill could also play like a centre and be better than just about any other, and he was also one of the most underrated leaders of all time.
Neither the raging bull nor the code hopping super brand of Sonny Bill Williams had the complete game of Wade Graham though.
Indeed, the Sharks back rower is a perfect concoction of finesse and whack. A match made in heaven, if you will. Something that cannot be, but most certainly is.
Why doesn’t he start for NSW then?
Well he plays in the same position as the skipper for a start, but he’s also just about the most ridiculously perfect Origin bench player too, which helps. He’s versatile enough to play in the halves and even at centre, but more importantly he offers a completely different dynamic to the rough and tumble, up and down nature of your conventional Origin big man.
Wade Graham’s NRL story began as a skinny kid from Penrith named to debut at halfback while still at school. A game day vomit in the toilet block near science class was about as raw and beautiful as rugby league debuts get. And that was before he set foot on the field of course.
He never quite set the world on fire at Penrith, but that all changed at Cronulla – and changed fairly quickly.
As his body developed and matured, Shane Flanagan saw the opportunity to throw Graham into the pack. It was a bold move not often seen and it proved an absolute master stroke.
A drought breaking premiership, State of Origin wizardry and a World Cup win says as much. He scored four tries in one of those World Cup matches, and did you see him go in Game 2 of this year’s Origin series? Breathtaking.
Now, he’s just come back from an injury lay off and chopped up South Sydney as though they were a park footy side struggling for numbers. In fact, that’s the theme of his 2019 season.
A knee reconstruction at the end of last year had many questioning whether the ball playing wizard would ever be the same player again, particularly as he headed toward the beautiful 30’s.
His first game back? Tore Parramatta to shreds. Origin return? Tore Queensland to shreds. If he plays for the Kangaroos at the end of the year – and he should – he’ll likely do the same to the Kiwis.
Wade Graham is as good as they come. The very best. Now please don’t throw that coffee mug.