Victor Radley has recently committed his international allegiance to England for this year’s Rugby League World Cup, and James Graham has shared his delight over the news.
The former England captain believes Radley will add to England’s greatest asset at the tournament this autumn, labelling him as one of the best loose forwards in the NRL.
The 24-year-old was born and raised in Australia but qualifies to play for England through is father Nigel, who was born in Sheffield.
His decision rules him out of contention for New South Wales and Australia in the future, having been a part of the Blues’ extended squad for Origin II last month.
Graham, who won 53 caps for England and Great Britain, believes Radley will bolster England’s World Cup chances within the forward pack.
Speaking on his podcast ‘The Bye Round’, the 2014 Dally M Prop of the Year shared his high praise for the Sydney Roosters man.
Graham: ‘Victor Radley is one of the best 13s in the NRL’
“I feel like I want to get the boots on again. For him to talk about that passion of wanting to play for England, it fills me with pride,” Graham said.
“I’m delighted. In my opinion Victor is one of the best 13s in the competition over here [NRL].
“Undoubtedly I think he would have played for New South Wales next year. I think he’s the type of player New South Wales were missing. I’m just delighted that he’s chose to represent the country that his dad was born in.
“We spoke in depth about what it means to him and how this has all come about. No doubt he’ll make the squad and he’ll be playing, but you don’t just give the jersey away, you’ve got to earn it but I think he’s going to do that.
“That entire forward pack for England for the World Cup was already looking strong. It’s England’s greatest asset in my opinion, and Victor has just added to that. I cannot wait to see him lining up next to [John] Bateman, [Alex] Walmsley and [Elliott] Whitehead.”
‘All eyes are going to be on Victor Radley’
England kick off their World Cup campaign with the opening game of the tournament on Saturday, October 15 against Samoa.
The clash will take place at Newcastle’s St James’ Park, with France and Greece also in their group.
“I’m so excited now for that first game against Samoa at St James’ Park,” Graham added. “All eyes are going to be on Victor Radley.
“I also commend Victor Radley for taking the amount of time to make such a huge decision.
“He’s sacrificed a lot and he’s gave up a lot in order to represent England. He’s spoken to Trent Robinson, all his friends at the Roosters and Freddy [Brad] Fittler as well and this isn’t a knee-jerk reaction, this is a thought-out decision.
“I’m delighted that he will be wearing the England jersey come the end of the season.”
Podcast: James Graham on World Cup, Saints farewell and life after league
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