BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 02: James Graham of England looks on during the 2017 Rugby League World Cup Final between the Australian Kangaroos and England at Suncorp Stadium on December 2, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

James Graham claims that he doesn’t remember what he said – and won’t apologise it in any case – after an on-field microphone caught the England enforcer accusing an Australian player of ‘cheating’.

The Kangaroos were awarded a penalty for Luke Gale’s high tackle on Cameron Smith, Graham’s invective rant was aimed towards a Kangaroos player.

Graham’s dismay was clear, shouting ‘cheating c**t’ multiple times.

The impassioned 32-year-old insists he had no recollection of what he said, nor did he feel the necessity to apologise.

“Loads of stuff gets said on the field,” Graham said. “If you don’t like it turn off the ref mics.

“That’s real life, real emotion out there. Stuff gets said all the time. Just because you pick it up … you want to fake reality? You want people to pat each on the back? It is what it is. It’s just the game.

“I don’t even remember what I said. I shouldn’t have to either. Remember that, that’s real. I shouldn’t have to remember what I said and apologise to anyone. And I won’t. It’s just part of the game.

“People say stuff. I spoke to a couple of players and it was like, ‘yeah, whatever’. What’s done is done.”


  1. Most people on this site probably played league and what is said in the field stays on the field, i’m with Graham on this one he should not have to apologise, simple.

    • With the exception of Benny Elias who made a cheap shot insult about Joe Fenech (Mario Fenech’s brother) in a scrum. Joe had tragically and suddenly passed away during an accident mid-week. Elias made the joke, Fenech erupted from the scrum and bashed Elias and Balmain got the penalty and Fenech was sin binned. Before anyone asks, I was told this by a former Souths player I went to school with who was in the scrum! Some “grubs” need to be outed! The same “grub” got away with something very major off-field as well which was hushed up.

      • Yeah i rate Smith as a grub but old backdoor benny would give him a run as the greatest.You hear whispers about players an you have to ignore them alot time as whispers but with Benny seemed you would here same type whispers about his offield behaviour nomatter where you went in the late 80/90’s along with a old team mate off his

  2. I’m not surprised he can’t remember it, he got his first concussion 2-3 minutes in, and a top or two during the course of the game.

    • Yet stayed on the field until he was replaced near half time, no HIA. NRL’s duty of care to this player in particular has gone out the window. Graham needs to be protected from himself IMO. He is doing himself no favours in the long term. Even Willie Carne (Broncos) was forced to retire young due to several heavy concussions back to back. James Graham’s brain has taken a bounding and no one seems to give a damn. I am not a fan of the man at all but he IS entitled to be protected like any other player in the NRL. Why is it that Graham always seems to be the one overlooked for HIA process?

      • At the risk of disagreeing with you again ;)….. The NRL had no jurisdiction in this match. I do agree however, some players, Graham one of them, seem to “avoid” a HIA a lot more than others.

        • He is in serious danger of long term damage so he SHOULD be on the NRL’s radar. Fair call though if the NRL didn’t have jurisdiction but Papp a Smurf did.

        • Yeah, there was a big fail by all involved, from Bennett, to the match officials, trainers etc. It seemed pretty clear he should have at least been taken from the field for a test.

        • As one of ZT’s own (jayy12) who was at the game called it:

          jayy12 December 3, 2017 at 11:34 am
          100% agree, he walked past us in the second half and it looked like he had no clue where he was. Was still staggering around behind the goal line. No idea how he made it back on???

          There is serious negligence IMO eel47 in the way the NRL, the Bulldogs and England have dealt with HIA in relation to Graham. Someone has to be held accountable.

  3. What’s the shock here? The guy signed dual contracts to deliberately cheat the salary cap for years, then refused to apologise for corrupting the competition. Graham just verbalised what the rest of the league world knew years ago

  4. And this is what Saints need … a bit of mongrel. I hope he has a good month off as pre-season @ saints is amongst the most hated. I cant wait to see him rip in at the charity shield.

    • I think you will find that it is BIG Sam Burgess that will be doin’ the rippin’ and Graham will be the one gettin’ a new one ripped! Bahahahahahahahaha

      Seriously though, surely Graham is only one more serious concussion away from enforced retirement. The Dragons need to invest in padded head gear to get “the sprinkler” through the season.

  5. Haven’t been a fan of Graham, but I agree with him, it’s game and these are big boys playing for high stakes. He shouldn’t apologise, the nannies can get st@ffed and what he said if it was at Smith is spot on comment.

  6. I agree, leave it on the field. Not as though Smith hasn’t said worse on the field (Alex McKinnon anyone). Besides, calling Smith a cheat is like saying rain is made of water, everyone knows it anyway

      • Really? Then why did McKinnon go on and say what he did about the incident? He doesn’t seem the type to tell tales. And why would 9 just stitch up Smith? What point would that serve just roasting the Australian captain for no reason – unless there was a reason.

      • His refusal to do anything media sums it up , remember Alex lay struggling to breath , cam was arguing with the ref over the penalty awarded , he couldn’t shut his mouth , maybe cam did see Alex being stretched off on the medi cab , every Newie player could see something wasn’t right but as usual it’s all about cam and all about the storm , I will celebrate greater than any manly prem victory the day he’s gone from the game for good

        • Have to agree with you there MW as much its hurts ;).Smith is all time biggest grub.So much not to like about the bloke hard to know where to start.I really cant wait till him an Slater retire as im looking forward to see how CB goes as a coach without Smith an co.In todays paper is a article on Smith being sports person of the year,oh please,yeah he might of one a few awards but cummon.He has played his whole career with the same spine since he was 16 this is why im so impressed with Pearce signing with Newi.Iv never rate him in SOO but always thought he was good at the roosters,takes balls to walk away to a club on the up an test himself.I really think Pearce getting outta syd an a new start will make him as a player

        • Absolutely, he can really make Newie his own and good on him , whilst I have my reasons I do believe he has a golden opportunity at Newie to redeem himself and showcase his leadership qualities

        • Remember how Issac Luke got penalised for attacking the studs on Cam Smiths’ boot with his head… over and over again? I heard Cam had to change his studs because of that and Isaac never compensated him for it. The things ol’ butt crack chin has to go through, I tell you it’s no wonder he is a legend in the game with the obstacles he has had to overcome and the people he is prepared to step on top of to get there. Issac was only one of many to be honoured by the “special attention” of Smith. Being a personal piñata for Cam Smith is something Luke will be able to tell his grandkids about in between CAT Scans. It’s the special moments in the game that you treasure. 😉

  7. I am completely siding with James Graham here. Funny how this incident is focused on especially after Michael Cheika was caught out for blurting “cheat” on television when the Wallabies played. The media and sensitiveness Larry’s need to toughen up or just start watching women’s Badminton if they cannot handle real emotions shown among modern day gladiators in sport.!

    All these people have done is in most cases stated the truth! They have had the balls to do so! They should be commended rather than tried to shut up!

    Seriously, Rugby League is fast becoming the biggest joke. I don’t understand what the supremos of the sport is trying to achieve by censoring, dumbing, softening down the game. If they want a pansy fairy game then why don’t they just dissolve Rugby League altogether and just start a touch football comb!
    What is even more funny is that Mr Smith is always at the front of most irregularities of the game. Here Graham has stated the obvious and now people start crying! Geeeez he dropped the C bomb! So what! when I lace up the boots the C bomb is the most mild chosen word dished out! on the paddock you dish out as much as you get it. There have been times where Mr Smith has said some shady things to players, the difference is he isn’t focused on or does so in a less aggressive manner. Fact is Mr Smith does it too! How about when he blatantly kicked the footy straight into a supporter in the crowed when he was being yelled at! That is just to name a few! Yes that is a future immortal doing that! Pfffft! what as farce!

    If you don’t want pansy viewers to get their panties in a twist when they hear profanities then dont mic the ref up! Simple!

    Besides Graham was concussed so he was probably calling the referee or his ex girlfriend a cheat for all we know! Bahahahaha !!!

      • +one billion gagillion fafillion…

        “too much? Just a bit? Riiiight.” – Dr Evil

        Just a thought but when you have to count the zeros and work out the number, it’s probably a step beyond a slight exaggeration of approving a point I would have thought.

    • I might be wrong greenlabel but I think the NRL brought in a rule making it illegal for anyone to call Cameron Smith the “C” word. Hang on, we ARE talking about players calling Smith a “cheat” right? As for anything else well I really couldn’t say. 😉

      • Afterall we are talking about the Premier of “CAMania” 😂

        BTW, I think it’s illegal to call the Premier of CAMania a cheat as opposed to the C#%*T word.

        You’d be doing life behind bars otherwise!


  8. You would pick up a lot more than that if you put a mic in my workplace! Give me a break. I love Graham’s passion and attitude on the field. Stop trying to kill the characters in the game!!!!

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