Experienced Bulldogs captain James Graham has urged David Klemmer not to change his intense style of play, after the NSW and Australia representative was suspended for his side’s season-opener against the Sea Eagles.
With Klemmer rubbed out for one game after taking out the legs of Storm forward Kenny Bromwich in their trial win last weekend, Graham said the positives outweighed the negatives when it came to addressing the 22-year-old’s aggressiveness.
"I think David has certain attributes that makes him the player he is. He definitely doesn’t want to be missing games and the club and everyone involved doesn’t want him missing games, but David plays the way he plays," Graham said of the 120-kilogram behemoth.
"In doing what he does it can have some implications and sometimes it leads to suspension. But I guess do you want to change that, and change the way he is? I’d probably say no.
"Obviously he can learn from it but I think sometimes when you play on the edge like him it’s just going to happen. He can maybe be a little smarter with it but you wouldn’t want to change fundamentally what David Klemmer is all about."
Graham has other concerns to worry about first and foremost with ankle and rib injuries impacting his game time in the Storm trial, though he said he’ll be right for the Sea Eagles in a week’s time.
"It was nothing serious," he said. "If there were a game this weekend I would play so I can’t see any reason why in Round 1 why I won’t be ready to go."
Nonetheless, with the NRL cutting down the interchange to eight for the 2016 season, Graham said he is expecting very little change on the paddock from a personal perspective.
Renowned for playing big minutes for the Bulldogs, Graham insisted it was a reasonable prospect for his 30-year-old body to keep doing what it’s achieved previously – despite knee and hamstring issues derailing the backend of the Englishman’s 2015 season.
"It’s sustainable for me. You have your pre-season to work on your conditioning and stuff, the injuries I’ve suffered previously have been unfortunate and I’m all recovered now," he said.
"You look at someone like Paul Gallen at the age of 34 who is still knocking out huge minutes for Cronulla, New South Wales and Australia. I’m hoping I can do the same."