Raider Hodgson in doubt for Eels clash
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart says star hooker Josh Hodgson won't be risked next Saturday against the Eels if a sternum injury he picked up against the Broncos on Friday night proves to be anything more than bruising.
Hodgson copped a heavy knock five minutes into the second half and played no further part in the match, his creativity around the ruck sorely missed as the Raiders launched a comeback from a 10-point deficit before going down 13-12 courtesy of a Jordan Kahu field goal.
With Joseph Tapine a late inclusion at the expense of Dave Taylor, Canberra started the game brightly in their Iron Fist special edition Marvel jerseys but were cruelled in the second half by a string of basic errors.
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart praised the performance of back-up hooker Adam Clydesdale who played out the final 35 minutes of the game and said Hodgson would not be risked if subsequent scans show up any significant damage.
"I think he's going to get a scan this week to check what it is and I think it just might be a bit of cartilage," Stuart said post-game.
"We'll have a look at it. It's early in the season and we won't risk Josh next week if he needs a week or so off.
"He's too important to the team but I must say I thought Adam Clydesdale when he went on tonight did a really good job filling in.
"It's always a big job for a player such as Adam filling in for big players such as Josh and I thought he did well for us."
The 13-12 loss was the second heart-breaker of the season for the Raiders after their golden point defeat at the hands of the Cowboys in Round 1.
In all honesty with 20 minutes to go the Raiders had no right to even be in the contest but tries to Jordan Rapana and Blake Austin saw them draw level with Brisbane with nine minutes left on the clock.
Rather than admonish his side for the errors that saw them fall 10 points behind midway through the second half, Stuart praised their commitment and ability to fight back and square the ledger.
"You hear coaches say that they are proud of their team but I am in regards to the effort," Stuart said.
"If they didn't care and weren't playing for each other out there tonight we get a score tallied up on us but the way they kept turning up in numbers defensively for a coach was great because it's early in the season.
"If that effort's there every week we're going to win more games than we lose. This game and the Cowboys game, it's all part of the journey."
Completing at less than 50 per cent in the second half, their overall completion rate of 68 per cent was just slightly down on their season average of 70 per cent.
But rather than blame their poor completion rate on their adventurous style of play, Stuart pointed to the basic errors they committed and the simplicity of the solution.
"Those errors tonight are not through taking a bit of a risk or an opportunity," Stuart said.
"We're a very unique footy team in regards to our attack and you can see that.
"We're losing games by a point when we had no football. Give me the same amount of possessions as the opposition and we're going to be a handful. We showed that last week.
"You all saw it, we just turned over too much cheap possession and to be able to handle it still with two tries apiece is a wonderful, wonderful effort.
"To have only 50 per cent of the footy and turn it over the way we did so cheaply in that second half and still be two tries apiece is from a coaching point of view fantastic because it's a wonderful effort.
"It's very simple and we know what we've got to fix."