Raiders seek answers on Hodgson injury
Canberra have written to the management of England's World Cup team asking for a breakdown of how their medical staff treated the injury suffered by Raiders hooker Josh Hodgson.
In scenes reminiscent of Greg Inglis staying on the field for South Sydney Rabbitohs in their opening-round NRL match against Wests Tigers in March with a damaged ACL, Hodgson injured his knee in the 15th minute against Tonga.
Hodgson then received some on-field treatment from Lions medical staff before playing the ball.
He remained on the field but was taken behind play to have the knee strapped.
He continued for a short period of time before the leg appeared to buckle and he was helped from the field in the 23rd minute. He did not return.
"We want a full report," Canberra CEO Don Furner told NRL.com on Monday. "It's very, very disappointing, particularly for Josh. We also had Joe Tapine injured in the other game (quarter-final), so it's also hard on the club."
Tapine suffered a posterior cruciate ligament injury the previous weekend representing the Kiwis but has been cleared of major damage and will re-join the Raiders' off-season training squad in January.
Canberra's medical staff have reviewed footage of Saturday's game.
"We noticed he did seem to go down and get an injury to his knee and then stayed on and did it again," Furner said.
"So we want to know from the England medical team how their assessment went. We have a duty of care to our players so we've asked for a full report so we can take it from there.
"It's not going to change the fact that Josh is injured, but it's a very disappointing day for him and the club."
Hodgson couldn’t hide his disappointment when he spoke to the Raiders’ website on Monday afternoon.
"I was a bit rattled the day after the game. I didn’t really want to speak to many people once I found out about the news of my ACL … shattered really," he said.
"To get injured in the game before that [the World Cup final] is a massive blow. But in terms of my personal situation, it is what it is. There's nothing much I can do about it now. I've got to keep my chin up and take each week as it comes."
Hodgson visited the Raiders HQ on Monday to check in with club physios and speak to the doctor. He has been booked in for surgery next week.
The Hull native was due to go back to England to see family after his Test commitments, but has decided to remain in Australia and begin his rehabilitation as soon as possible.
There is no way of knowing if Hodgson partially or fully tore his ACL in the initial tackle and it is unclear whether leaving the field immediately after the first hint of trouble would have saved the joint from further damage. But the Raiders want – in writing from the England doctor – the exact sequence of events.
Canberra also wrote to the NRL on Monday regarding the potential for salary cap relief after the club has gone from four hookers to potentially none.
Kurt Baptiste, who helped Papua New Guinea make the World Cup quarter-finals, shared the No.9 duties last season with Hodgson but is on the verge of being released to Super League to ensure the Raiders are salary cap compliant for 2018.
Two other rakes – Adam Clydsdale (retired) and Erin Clark (released for personal reasons) – parted ways with the club last week with former Canterbury Bulldogs utility Craig Garvey joining Canberra.
Raiders officials are asking if there would be a way to keep Baptiste on a downgraded contract, or push his salary into later seasons, because of their hooker crisis.
Furner admitted their request was likely to fall on deaf ears because there is no longer a provision in the NRL salary cap rules for that, even if it is a case of serious injury.
But the Raiders are still keen to talk to the NRL to discuss options because Hodgson was not injured on club time, but rather on representative duties.