Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Photo by Patrick Kearney
When thinking of who new NRL franchise The Dolphins would sign before anybody else one’s mind instantly thinks Munster, Gutherson, Ponga or Mahoney; however, the club themselves have decided to look towards their long-term future when making their first signing, who has been revealed to be Harrison Graham from the Wynnum Manly Seagulls.
Graham is a junior Queensland State of Origin representative who plays at hooker, but can also shift into the front row if need be.
He is somebody who to this point has had the luxury of playing for a club brimming with success, as his Seagulls side won the 2021 Hastings Deering Colts Grand Final 17-16 against the Townsville Blackhawks in a game where Graham was crucial.
The 20-year-old also made his Intrust Super Cup debut in 2021, playing two games for the club that would go on to lose the Grand Final against the Norths Devils, and if not for hooker Jayden Berrell going on to be the ISC Player of the Year, then Graham would have likely played more for Wynnum’s top side.
Peter O’Sullivan was recently hired as The Dolphins recruitment manager after a long stay at the Warriors and has recently spoken to The Sydney Morning Herald about the club’s choice to not make a marquee their first signing.
“A lot of people are going to want to know who is going to play there before they sign, so we need to have a couple of higher-end signings, but at the same time every spot from 1-30 is just as important as the other,” said O’Sullivan.
“Patience is going to be a big factor here. Everyone wants us to come out swinging, but the CEO, coach and I are all on side about going slowly to get it right.
“If we need to be a bit patient to get the right players, we will.
“I met with a young guy [Graham] yesterday and said you could be our first signing. When and where they fall into place is irrelevant, it’s about the quality.
“A salary cap model that’s done well has strong value players in it.
“The players we’re looking at down the bottom end of the payment scale are just as important as the top.
“If we sign a few boys now, whose value increases over the year, we’ve already got those value money players.”
O’Sullivan and The Dolphins have made a huge statement by making Harrison Graham their first signing, and by 2023 he will be ready to repay their faith.