Graham, a former Super League Man of Steel, is out of contract with Saints at the end of the season and has been a target for a host of NRL clubs who have witnessed the success of Graham’s England team-mates Sam Burgess and Gareth Ellis in Australia.
Reports suggest Graham could sign a three-year contract with Canterbury and although Simmons, speaking after Friday’s 28-24 defeat at Wigan, refused to confirm any deal had been agreed he conceded that the lure of Australia could be hard to resist.
“I’ve spoken to him at length on many occasions trying to get him to stay,” Simmons said.
“He loves this club. He’d love to pick this club up and drop it into the middle of the NRL for a year and have a go.
“He can’t do that, so if the challenge is there burning away at him, you look him in the eyes and shake his hand and say ‘go and do your best’, don’t you? You find it hard to make an argument.
“He’s won a lot of things here – cups and man of steel – and he wants a bit of a challenge. If he decides to stay, well that’s a big bonus for us.”