Sharks star Wade Graham’s 2018 campaign was hampered by injuries.
The 28-year old played 18 matches last season after dealing with two hamstring injuries, a broken cheekbone, a concussion and a medial knee injury, eventually suffering a season-ending ruptured ACL during team’s qualifying final loss to the Roosters.
Graham is not expected to return until around halfway through the 2019 season as he rehabs his ACL injury.
However, the second-rower welcomed his first child into the world with fiancee Karianne Lafrance last year and enjoyed spending Christmas with her family in Canada as Graham looks to get his body right.
And the 2017 Australian World Cup representative is looking to make the most of his time on the sidelines and focus on the positives.
“It was one of those years. I have an opportunity now to spend seven or eight months in the gym.
“Spending this time to have a break for a bit and get myself in the best shape possible so when I do come back I’ll hit the ground running.
“I’m trying to look at the bright side — having a seven-month break in the gym, I’m not going to be getting banged up every week. I’ll have the opportunity to train really hard without the bumps and bruises.
“If anything, it could launch the back-end of my career. I’m 28 now. I’m on the other side (of my career). If I treat this break right and work hard enough on the field and in the gym it could really launch me into the back-end of my career. That’s how I’m looking at it.
“You can’t spend too much time down and thinking about it.
“Prior to this year I’d had a great run with injuries.”
Graham has been widely touted as Paul Gallen’s successor as the club’s next skipper, but he expects his injury to delay that potential transition.
“It’ll be tough now missing half the season,” Graham said.
“It’s a bit more of that transitional period.
“It’s set in stone now that this will be his last season. For a long time there has been ‘is Gal (Gallen) going again, isn’t he going again’?
“With this season being his last, the club will look to transition a bit more.
“Unfortunately our plans that we put in motion have been disrupted because of my knee injury. I won’t be there for the first half of the season but it gives an opportunity for some of the other guys to step into that leadership role and grow.”