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Graham calls for patience over Dragons' new-look spine

St George Illawarra prop James Graham has called for patience over their new-look spine as the side prepares for their first of three five-day turnarounds for the season.

The Red V will go into their round-two clash against the Rabbitohs on Thursday night with only a captain's run training session under their belt since returning from Townsville on the weekend.

Paul McGregor's decision to move Gareth Widdop into the No.1 jersey and Matt Dufty to the bench has already generated mixed opinions among fans and sections of the media.

But Graham remained defiant about the selection decisions on Monday in a split-squad recovery session in Caringbah.

"It's round one … I'm surprised no one has been a bolter for Origin [yet]," Graham quipped.

"We've got some quality players here and obviously five doesn't go into four in terms of fitting everyone on the field at the same time, but I think that's a headache most coaches could only wish for.

"The spine is everything in teams, they pull all the strings, but I wouldn't judge a part of one game and put a line through it. I'm very optimistic on how this team and this spine in particular can go and where I believe they can take us."

Graham’s defiant response to concussion concerns

Dragons recruit Corey Norman believes the spine played too conservatively to give themselves enough chance against a more rampant Cowboys outfit.

"It was a bit clunky there on Saturday wasn't it?," Norman said.

"I was a bit rusty there, it wasn't my best game but it is what it is. I think it will [take time].

"I thought we played a bit too conservative us three. We have plenty of talent there and could probably play a bit more football. But again, that's going to take time."

The Dragons will host South Sydney at the newly named Netstrata Jubilee Stadium in Kogarah with question marks over the ground's surface host down by the English enforcer.

Several sporting events over the summer, including the club's trial against Newcastle, were forced elsewhere due to the state of the field.

"Maybe ask the players in the 70s and 80s if they're going to give us some sympathy about how the fields are looking," Graham responded.

"As long as the field is safe [it's fine], which I presume it will be."

Get caught up: Round 1

Tyson Frizell is out for an extended period after suffering a testicular injury against the Cowboys with Josh Kerr in the frame to make his Telstra Premiership debut when the sides are named on Tuesday.

The Dragons announced on Monday that Frizell would be out indefinitely and would not rush the representative forward back because of the delicate nature of the injury.

Back-up halfback Darren Nicholls suffered a fractured scapula on the weekend in the Canterbury Cup NSW and is looking at a six-week stint on the sidelines.

Acknowledgement of Country

St George Illawarra Dragons respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples, where our games are played, our programs are conducted and in the communities we support.

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