SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 26: James Graham of the Dragons is tackled during the round 11 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Cronulla Sharks at WIN Jubilee Stadium on May 26, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Following reports on Friday that he had become the latest casualty in the cleanout going on at St George Illawarra Dragons, former Red V star and English International James Graham has claimed he was “blindsided” by the decision.

Graham’s departure follows that of assistant coaches Mat Head and Peter Gentle, and it’s expected that more heads will roll soon. The Englishman has served a multitude of roles for the club since his retirement from the game, both on the field and off it.

Speaking as part of Triple M’s Saturday Scrum, Graham said he was “blindsided” by the club’s decision.

“I had a role with the Dragons when I came back from England, spread across a variety of areas within the organisation,” Graham said.

“I was basically told the role would no longer be continued and that they were going to put that money into… well basically, the sales department.

“I was blindsided by it, I was. I’m not going to lie. I didn’t see it coming.

“But I’ve had time to digest the news and look for other opportunities. I was disappointed but I mean, if that’s the direction the club want to go.”

Probed further about the role he was being relieved of, Graham went into detail about the range of things he was doing at the club.

“They said the role doesn’t exist, or won’t exist,” he said.

“My role was so varied - I was in an ambassadorship, in the pathways, mentoring some of those junior forwards, running some junior forwards camps to get them up to speed.

“I had a role in pre-season with the first team where I’d do contact with them and some talk around leadership and what it means to be a first grader. I’d help design what we would stand for.

“Then the gameday experience stuff and having that relationship with key stakeholders and partners as someone to go to and talk about the club in a positive light – which has admittedly been difficult these past couple of seasons – the role, I’ve been told, is no longer there.”