Graham a chance for Souths despite NSW withdrawal

·2-min read
Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS

South Sydney will consider playing Campbell Graham against Canberra on Saturday despite a sternum injury forcing the centre's sudden withdrawal from the NSW State of Origin camp.

The NRL's form centre, Graham had been considered a strong chance to earn an Origin debut in the back-line for the series opener on May 31.

But a star turn from Tom Trbojevic on the weekend consigned Graham to 18th man when the NSW squad was announced on Monday morning.

The 23-year-old joined the Blues at their Coogee camp on Sunday night but subsequently informed team staff his recurrent sternum injury had flared up in recent days. NSW officials then took the decision to stand him down from the squad.

Graham has required pre-game injections to make it through his club duties with South Sydney and has been wearing a chest guard in recent weeks.

Scans revealed bone fragments around the injury and the centre was forced to postpone his involvement with the Blues, leaving their camp on Monday.

"To be honest, it's very disappointing. I'm pretty shattered," Graham said.

"I'm in and around the mix, that's the positive I'll take out of this, and keep trying to work my way into the team.

"It's one of those ones that's been niggling for a while.

"Unfortunately it's just gotten a little bit worse this week. It's disappointing but the good thing is I'm pretty confident it'll settle down over the next few weeks."

Taking something of a swipe at the Blues, however, Souths revealed he had not yet been ruled out of Saturday's match against Canberra, saying his condition would be monitored during the week.

"For a number of weeks, Graham has been managing his training loads at the beginning of each week to allow him to be fit on game day," a statement from the Rabbitohs read.

"Unfortunately, this meant he would not be able to be fully involved in the Blues early sessions this week and, as a result, they withdrew him from the squad.

"Graham will return to the Rabbitohs squad today and he will be assessed throughout the week as to whether he is fit to play in Saturday's game against the Canberra Raiders."

Graham will be replaced by fellow centre Stephen Crichton as NSW's 18th man for the first game of the series.