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Graham set to win 50th international cap

James Graham is set to join one of Rugby League’s most exclusive clubs when he leads out Great Britain against the Tonga Invitational XIII in Hamilton on Saturday.

The 34-year-old Liverpudlian prop is the only member of the 2019 Rugby League Lions to have played previously for Great Britain, having won his first five international caps wearing the blue and red V in 2006-7.

Since then, he has earned a further 44 caps for England – meaning he will win his 50th international cap this weekend.

Graham will become only the fourth British player in the history of Rugby League to reach a half century – following Jim Sullivan, Mick Sullivan and Adrian Morley.

They were joined last autumn by the former New Zealand captain Ruben Wiki, and the Australian trio of Darren Lockyer, Cameron Smith and Petero Civoniceva – who also represented Fiji – as the seven players to be awarded Golden Caps by the Rugby League International Federation in recognition of their achievement in winning 50 international caps.

Now Graham is set to become the eighth recipient of a Golden Cap.

The game against the Tonga Invitational XIII – Great Britain’s first appearance on the international Rugby League stage since 2007, and the start of a four-match tour which continues with two Tests against New Zealand and one against Papua New Guinea – was confirmed as having full international status at last week’s meeting of International Rugby League in Sydney.

Great Britain and the Tongans have each submitted an initial squad to the tournament organisers, which must be reduced to 19 on Friday morning UK time – 24 hours before the match.

The Tongans have included Salford stand-off Tui Lolohea, Warrington forward Ben Murdoch-Masila, Leeds centre Konrad Hurrell and Hull-bound enforcer Manu Ma’u, as well as a host of stars of their run to the semi finals of the 2017 World Cup such as Michael Jennings and Jason Taumalolo.

Great Britain

  1. Lachlan Coote (Windsor Wolves, St Helens)
  2. Jermaine McGillvary (Deighton Juniors, Huddersfield Giants)
  3. Zak Hardaker (Featherstone Lions, Wigan Warriors)
  4. Oliver Gildart (Wigan St Patricks, Wigan Warriors)
  5. Ryan Hall (Oulton Raiders, Sydney Roosters)
  6. Gareth Widdop (Kings Cross, St George Illawarra Dragons)
  7. Jackson Hastings (Western Suburbs Red Devils, Salford Red Devils)
  8. Chris Hill (New Springs Lions, Warrington Wolves)
  9. Josh Hodgson (East Hull, Canberra Raiders)
  10. Luke Thompson (Bold Miners, St Helens)
  11. John Bateman (Bradford Dudley Hill, Wigan Warriors)
  12. Elliott Whitehead (West Bowling, Canberra Raiders)
  13. James Graham (c) (Thatto Heath, St George Illawarra Dragons)
  14. Josh Jones (Blackbrook, Salford Red Devils)
  15. Tom Burgess (Dewsbury Moor, South Sydney Rabbitohs)
  16. Jonny Lomax (Orrell St James, St Helens)
  17. Alex Walmsley (Dewsbury Celtic, St Helens)
  18. Jake Connor (Siddal, Hull FC)
  19. Jack Hughes (Golborne Parkside, Warrington Wolves)
  20. George Williams (Wigan St Patricks, Wigan Warriors)
  21. Daryl Clark (Fryston Warriors, Warrington Wolves)

Tonga Invitational XIII:

  • Will Hopoate
  • David Fusitu’a
  • Michael Jennings
  • Kotoni Staggs
  • Daniel Tupou
  • Tuimoala Lolohea
  • Ata Hingano
  • Andrew Fifita
  • Siliva Havili
  • Sio Siua Taukeiaho
  • Ben Murdoch-Masila
  • Manu Ma’u
  • Jason Taumalolo

Interchange (from):

  • Sione Katoa
  • Addin Fonua-Blake
  • John Asiata
  • Sitili Tupouniua
  • Junior Tatola
  • Konrad Hurrell
  • Tesi Niu

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Club Cash

AS you all know from your own experiences these are tough times for everybody, but we believe you will agree that OLDHAM RLFC is taking massive inspiration from the fabulous NHS and other key workers in tackling Covid head-on, while looking forward positively to the 2021 season and better times ahead thanks to the outstanding work now being done to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible.

Nevertheless, we have to face facts and be realistic enough to accept that the club urgently needs every pound that is currently coming in from whatever source. One of those sources is our Club Cash lottery and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who support us on this. A lot of you who used to pay our collectors on the doorstep have responded to our suggestions on how to pay by different methods and we are extremely grateful for that. Thanks again. You will never know how much difference your contributions make.

Alas, our income from the lottery has dropped by more than 50 per cent over the course of the pandemic and that would be a huge blow financially at any time let alone a time of unprecedented hardship because of the pandemic. It really is a situation we seriously need to address.

With that in mind the prize fund for the duration of the latest national lockdown will be temporarily reduced from February 10.

You will still be able to win a £1,000 first prize, plus £100, £50, £25 and ten £10 prizes every week, while continuing to provide vital support for the club and it will only cost you £1 a week. You can’t get a decent coffee for that, but the difference it makes to the club when multiplied a few times over and then multiplied again by 52 – the number of weeks in the financial year – is of major significance.

If you can help us at all — for £1 a week — it would be hugely appreciated by everyone with Oldham RL Club at heart. The prize structure still represents good value for money for an outlay of £1.

To those who are already members and help us accordingly, we very much hope to retain your support at this extremely difficult time.

Should you wish to play but don’t, due to the pausing of cash collection rounds, we have other options available, which you can discuss with our lottery administrator, John McAndrew on 07980129541 or from the club on 07904 898177.

Alternatively, you can send an email to: mcandrewj@aol.com or to: enquiries@roughyeds.co.uk

The prize fund will be increased back to previous levels as soon as latest lockdowns are released. Please watch our website and social media platforms for further announcements.

Finally, if you want more information about the lottery or you wish to discuss your membership please contact one of the numbers given above.

A huge thank-you to you all.

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