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Warring Graham and Burgess still mates

AAP logoAAP 26/10/2016 Ian McCullough

James Graham has dismissed suggestions of ill-feeling between him and roommate Sam Burgess after being overlooked by Wayne Bennett for the England captaincy and insists on-field stoushes will never hurt their friendship.

The duo, who are two of the most combative forwards in the NRL, were involved in a flashpoint last month when Graham was placed on report for kicking out at Burgess during his side's 20-8 loss to South Sydney.

Graham, whose head infamously smashed Burgess' cheekbone in the opening seconds of the 2014 grand final, was furious after being targeted in a tackle by the Rabbitohs talisman as he was being held by two defenders.

Graham said he and Burgess find rumours about their so-called animosity towards one another amusing but acknowledged their friendship does go on hold when they cross the white line.

"Me and Sam have been roommates on and off with England for the last seven years and are again here at the Four Nations," Graham said,

"People can think and write what they like, but once the game is over it's all forgotten. We're competitive and hate to lose it's nothing more than that.

"Things like that happen in rugby league from time to time. We're really good mates and I am really looking forward to playing with him again."

Saturday's clash with New Zealand in Huddersfield will be the first time Burgess and Graham have lined up together since the dramatic Rugby League World Cup semi-final defeat by the Kiwis at Wembley in 2013.

The game was one of the great international encounters, with Shaun Johnson levelling the match at 18-all in the final seconds with a brilliant try and then winning it after the siren with a nerveless kick.

Graham admits it took him some time to get over the disappointment of the defeat and although England beat an under-strength Kiwi side last year in a three-Test series, there's a sense of unfinished business amongst the squad.

"It's not ideal to start thinking about that game," he said.

"It was a great to be involved in. Both teams played really well but in sport you need a winner and a loser

"It was a bit of magic from Johnson at the end and hearts were broken.

"Winning the series against the Kiwis last year will have helped the confidence of a lot of the lads involved.

"But this is a different competition, we have a different coach some new players and hopefully we'll get the job done."

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