Mark Graham (rugby league)

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Mark Graham
Personal information
Full nameMark Kerry Graham
Born (1955-09-29) 29 September 1955 (age 63)
Playing information
Height191 cm (6 ft 3 in)
Weight90 kg (14 st 2 lb; 200 lb)
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1979–80 Norths (Brisbane)
1981–88 North Sydney 146 29 1 0 105
1988 Wakefield Trinity 14
Total 160 29 1 0 105
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1977–88 New Zealand 28 7 0 0 24
1988 Rest of the World 1 0 0 0 0
Coaching information
Years Team Gms W D L W%
1999–00 Auckland Warriors 50 18 2 30 36
Source: [1][2]

Mark Kerry Graham[3] (born 29 September 1955[4]) is a New Zealand former professional rugby league footballer and coach. A back-rower and former captain of the New Zealand national rugby league team, he has been named as the greatest player the country has produced in the century from 1907 to 2006.[1][2]

Playing career[edit]

An Otahahu junior, Graham played in 29 tests, captaining the Kiwis side in 18 of them and scoring 7 tries from 1977 to 1988. In 1980 when playing in the Brisbane Rugby League premiership for the Norths club, he helped his side to victory in the grand final. That year in the BRL Preliminary Final against Valleys at Lang Park, Brisbane,[5] Graham put a hit on Australian captain Wally Lewis that crushed his oesophagus.[6] At the end of the season he captained the 1980 New Zealand rugby league tour of Great Britain and France.

In a trans-Tasman test at Lang Park on 18 June 1985,[1] while serving as Kiwi captain Graham was deliberately taken out of the game by a high shot from Noel "Crusher" Cleal while playing brilliantly and inspirationally.[2] After winning premierships with his club in New Zealand he played two seasons in the Brisbane Rugby League premiership with the Norths club under coach Graham Lowe, winning the BRL premiership in his second year there,[7] as well as the New South Wales Rugby League premiership for the North Sydney Bears between 1981 and 1988. He also captained the Bears. In what was the last match of the 1988 Great Britain Lions tour, Graham played at second-row forward for the Kiwis in their victory, which saw them qualify for the final of the final of the 1985–1988 World Cup against Australia. In that match Graham also played at second-row forward, but New Zealand were unable to defeat the Kangaroos. At the end of the 1988 Winfield Cup season, Graham travelled to England to captain the newly promoted Wakefield Trinity (Heritage № 1002) club in the 1988–89 Rugby Football League season.[8] In 1989 his biography Mark my words: The Mark Graham Story was published.

Post playing[edit]

In 1995 Graham was one of the initial inductees of the NZRL Legends of League.[9] The following year he was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame. He went on to coach the Auckland Warriors in the National Rugby League for two seasons in 1999 and 2000. He later became defensive coach for the Japanese rugby union club, Kintetsu.

In August 2006 Graham was named at second-row in the North Sydney Bears' Team of the Century. In 2007, he was named at second row in the New Zealand Kiwis Team of the Century and also further honoured as New Zealand's rugby league Player of the Century. He is an Auckland Rugby League Immortal.[10] In 2008, Graham was also named at second-row in a Norths Devils all-time greatest team. In July 2018, it was announced that Graham would be inducted into the Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame.[11]

Mark Graham now lives in Gladstone where he is an Australian Workers' Union delegate at the Gladstone Ports Corporation.


  1. ^ a b "Statistics at". 31 December 2017. Retrieved 2018-01-01.
  2. ^ a b "Statistics at". 31 December 2017. Retrieved 2018-01-01.
  3. ^ GRAHAM, Mark Kerry 1977 – 88 – Kiwi #535
  4. ^ Gary Lester (editor) (1983). The Sun Book of Rugby League – 1983. Sydney: John Fairfax Marketing. p. 62. ISBN 0-909558-83-3.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  5. ^
  6. ^ Haddan, Steve (2016). Our Game – The Celebration of Brisbane Rugby League 1909–1987. Australia: National Library of Australia Press. p. 290. ISBN 978-0995-3512-0-2. ISBN 9780995351202 (Paperback).
  7. ^ "Mark Graham". website of the North Sydney Bears. Archived from the original on 2008-07-23. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
  8. ^,2020638
  9. ^ "New Zealand Rugby League Annual Report 2008" (PDF). NZRL. 2008. Archived from the original (pdf) on 12 September 2009. Retrieved 21 July 2009.
  10. ^ Stacey Jones, Auckland Rugby League Immortal Archived 24 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine, 21 September 2003
  11. ^

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Frank Endacott
New Zealand Warriors

Succeeded by
Daniel Anderson