England forward James Graham insists he has no reason to apologise for apparently swearing at an opponent during his side’s 6-0 defeat by Australia in the World Cup final.
The referee’s microphone picked up the former St Helens prop calling one of the Kangaroos players a “cheating c**t” during a fracas early in the game at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.
“Loads of stuff gets said on the field,” Graham said. “If you don’t like it, turn off the ref mics. That’s real life, real emotion out there. Stuff gets said all the time. Just because you pick it up – you want to fake reality?
“You want people to pat each other on the back? It is what it is. It’s just the game. I don’t even remember what I said. I shouldn’t have to either. Remember that, that’s real.
“I should not have to remember what I said and apologise to anyone. And I won’t. It’s just part of the game. What’s done is done.”
Meanwhile, Graham, who won a record 39th England cap, is hoping head coach Wayne Bennett decides to stay on after guiding the team to their first World Cup final for 22 years.
“I’d love Wayne to continue the job he’s doing,” said Graham, who will make the move from Canterbury Bulldogs to St George Illawarra from 2018. “He’s been great for this group, I think that’s plain to see.
“We’ve come to Australia, away from home for seven weeks and put in a performance like that where the game is on the line for 80 minutes.
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“I’ve been involved for almost a decade now and it’s clear to see the improvement. I think there’s a togetherness. The way we kept turning up for each other is testament to how much it means to this group of guys.
“We can take a lot out of that. We’re gutted that we didn’t win but there is a sense of achievement in terms of getting to the final for the first time for so long.”