NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 27: Wade Graham of the Sharks in action during the round 12 NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on May 27, 2018 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

While loyalty to his club had kept Wade Graham at Cronulla for the past 11 seasons, it appears that a devotion of a different kind could be the reason that the 31-year-old finally cuts ties with the Shire side.

Despite racking up 221 first-grade appearances in black, white and blue since making the crosstown trek from Penrith ahead of the 2012 season, it now seems that love and linguistics will act as the key for Graham to link up with Catalans in the Super League.

Currently without a contract for the 2023 season, the Blacktown-born wrecking ball told News Corp that despite fielding interest from the Perpignan-based franchise about a shift north, he contended he was keen to stay on with Cronulla for the 2023 season.

However, the catalyst for the forward's desire to remain in the beachside suburb was due to an Australian visa opportunity for his french-speaking, Canadian-born partner, Karianne Lafrance.

“If she stays another year then she can apply for citizenship so there are a few hurdles to jump,” he said.

“I have had one conversation with ‘Fitzy’ Craig Fitzgibbon) and ‘Moons’ (Cronulla's Football Manager Darren Mooney) about what next year looks like.

“But focus is just about playing this year. I’m not worried, there’s still plenty of time to go this year. We’ll see where the cards fall. I’m not in any rush."

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 16: Wade Graham of the Sharks scores a try during the round 15 NRL match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Brisbane Broncos at Southern Cross Group Stadium on June 16, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

Though Graham - who is reportedly learning how to speak his partner's native tongue - was willing to reveal that Catalans had made contact, the man who manages his own contractual affairs suggested conversations had been light.

“I have had initial chats with Catalans,” Graham said.

“They know I’m off contract and did ring me about a month ago.

“I told them it (playing in France) was in my future plans. It hasn’t progressed much further than that but it’s still on the cards.

“I manage myself so it would be to good go through the process and talk to them. At this stage, they have expressed interest and I have said it’s certainly a goal of mine at some stage of my career to head over there.”

While the ability to post up beside the Mediterranian with a glass of the Corbières territory's finest reds, the daydream is one that has been momentarily parked according to the eight-time Kangaroo.

“There are a lot of moving pieces but I doubt it (moving to France) will happen next year," Graham said in finality.

The veteran second-rower has made just the four appearances for the Sharks this season, with his latest outing against the Broncos seeing him running for a season-high 111 metres.

Having last season claimed a ticket to the Super League grand final, Catalans - currently being steered by Graham's former NSW teammate Mitchell Pearce - appear bound for the playoffs once more given their 10-3 start to their 2022 campaign.