AAP Rugby

Graham inspired Dragons to boilover: Dufty

By AAP Newswire

Matt Dufty has revealed how a rousing pre-game rev-up from James Graham inspired St George Illawarra to their NRL boilover against Brisbane.

The Dragons produced one of the biggest upsets of the season in their 48-18 demolition of the Broncos and now have designs on again rattling cages against South Sydney in Saturday's semi-final.

Written off and even abused by their own fans after limping into the play-offs, the Dragons produced a finals performance for the ages on Sunday.

And fullback Dufty said Graham provided the impetus when he dragged the playing group into a huddle at Suncorp Stadium and urged them to believe in themselves like he did.

"Jammer gave us a speech before the game in a huddle, saying he's going to put everything on the line, he knows this squad has the potential to win a grand final, that's why he came here," Dufty told AAP.

"It's really inspiring because he's played 400 first-grade games here and overseas.

"For him to have that confidence in our playing squad definitely helped out."

Graham's passion was on show in the 25th minute when he refused to be pulled from the field after copping an accidental elbow to the head from Korbin Sims, though he relented and didn't return after failing a head injury assessment.

Dufty's affection for the English prop is evident, calling him a warrior and "probably the toughest guy I've played with".

"He didn't want to come off on the weekend. He got knocked out and he was fighting to stay on the field," Dufty said.

Following their 38-0 humiliation at the hands of Canterbury in the second-last round of the season, the pair exchanged terse words in the dressing room.

While some saw it as a sign of a rift between them, Dufty said they could hardly be closer, describing them as having a big brother, little brother relationship.

"We're definitely good friends and he's someone I respect," Dufty said.

"We have arguments every now and then but what good friends don't? We get over it pretty quick.

"After that Bulldogs thing, we were on the phone that night and we had breakfast the next day. It wasn't worrying us.

"We were laughing at everyone making it out to be a big deal. The joke was on them."