Sport

Pressure affected Bulldogs' chances, admits skipper

James Graham of the Bulldogs.
James Graham of the Bulldogs. DAN HIMBRECHTS

RUGBY LEAGUE: Canterbury captain James Graham has conceded "pressure" may have been behind his side's unceremonious exit from last year's premiership.

The Bulldogs were fourth after round 23 but lost their final three games to finish seventh before being eliminated in week one of the finals.

It still stings a clearly passionate Graham.

"Maybe it was the pressure that got to us, what was at stake," Graham said.

"Pressure can affect you immensely. Our job as professional athletes means pressure is a privilege. We're in a high-pressure job but there are a lot of people around that want to be doing this job.

"With our players - and let's be honest, players that had been there before and managed to kick on to a top-four finish - sometimes maybe it's just sport.

"Maybe that's why we love it, because people fall off or come from nowhere. Maybe we're looking too far into it by looking at numbers and figures. Maybe it's just sport.

"That's why we love it and why we tune in.

"That external pressure is something we can't control. There's no point talking about it or letting it affect us too much. We believe in ourselves and each other. It shouldn't affect us too much. No one puts more pressure, or has higher expectations, than ourselves."

There was one positive, however: motivation.

Canterbury enters this season desperate for success to ease headlines surrounding the club and coach Des Hasler, and to appease success-hungry fans.

"I'm not going to hide from it," Graham said. "No one was more disappointed in the way the season finished than the playing group and the staff.

"We set exceptionally high standards in our club and we feel we under-achieved."

News Corp Australia

Topics:  canterbury bulldogs james graham nrl



'Muscle town': Council fights LNP leader over power station

Queensland opposition leader Tim Nicholls made a very quick stop in Gladstone on his way to Biloela yesterday.

Debate over next generation coal-fired power station.

How Gladstone's cheapest and most expensive homes stack up

SPECTACULAR: This home on Springs Road, Agnes Water, is selling in the mid-$2 million range.

With the market currently low, now is the time to invest.

Local Partners

Film boss marvels at Sunshine State

Thor: Ragnarok success may mean more Marvel movies for Queensland.

ABC's Q&A: Should 16-year-olds be allowed to vote?

Opposition Health Minister Catherine King on the Q & A panel, left, and right, Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg.

But there was one thing the students weren't discussing.

Wilkinson back on air after ‘holiday hell’

Lisa Wilkinson returns to air, cast in hand.

Lisa Wilkinson still feels "a bit ordinary" after holiday from hell

Northern Rivers truckie takes on Ninja Warrior Grand Final

RIGHT AT HOME: Tom Hazell in his backyard ninja set-up.

Truckie one of 21 ninjas in Australian Ninja Warrior grand final

Police sniffer dogs busy at Splendour

Police sniffer dogs at the Splendour in the Grass festival.

Festival upholds its zero tolerance stance against drugs

Diana Chan crowned MasterChef's 2017 winner

MasterChef Australia's 2017 winner Diana Chan. Supplied by Channel 10.

MELBOURNE accountant comes out on top after eight-hour showdown.

Mini ninjas get into training

Gary Nowlan, 12, of Gawler East trains in X-Park at Bounce.

Kids as young as 12 are already dreaming of becoming Ninja Warriors

First home buyer hopes 'on the horizon'

For Sale sign

Real Estate Institute of Queensland encourages Gladstone home buyers

'We’re goin' to Bonnie Doon!' and now you can too

How's the serenity?

The experience will have you exclaiming “how’s the serenity?”

New life for Bree and historic Oddfellows Hall

TWO CHANGES: Bree Dahl with her new baby Ivy in front of the historic Oddfellows Hall she purchased at auction and will renovate into a house.

Historic hall to be turned into home

Financial scandal destroys alternative community

Families who gave thousands to be a part of an alternative community at Mt Burrell, west of Murwillumbah, are now trying to recover their investment. Picture: Jamie Hanson

Dream Utopia turns into a nightmare