Hingano ready for any role with Austin named for Raiders
Canberra utility Ata Hingano is prepared for anything this week as the Raiders prepare for a crucial clash with the St George Illawarra Dragons in Mudgee.
Hingano's role on Sunday afternoon could be vary significantly, depending on how Blake Austin's ankle recovers over the next few days.
Austin was carried from the field in the 31st minute in Canberra's loss to Cronulla on Sunday and looked at long odds of playing in round 11 after leaving the ground wearing a moon boot and relying on crutches.
He is an outside chance of taking his place at five-eighth following positive results from scans and has been named in the side as Canberra looks to rebound from another disappointing late loss.
Hingano came to the Raiders with the hope of playing regular first grade, potentially in his preferred position of the halves.
However, the 21-year-old has been a victim of his own versatility, having been handed an unfamiliar role as utility hooker to act as cover for starting rake Siliva Havili.
Canberra's final 17 for the Dragons could also be affected by the inclusion of Sam Williams, who returned last weekend from a knee injury suffered against Canterbury in round five.
Hingano said he has to improve after being thrown into the halves to replace Austin on Sunday.
"For me to be chucked in the position I was excited at the time but now looking back at the game I think I could have done more," Hingano said.
"The whole week leading up to the game my whole mindset was with playing hooker. It's not always a good thing being chucked in the halves when it comes down to injury, but it would have been easier leading into the game.
"Now that I know there's the possibility that Blake might or might not be playing, in training I'll be training at hooker and in the halves just in case."
Canberra coach Ricky Stuart took some ownership for Hingano's rusty performance, saying it was tough to expect him to stand in for Austin in what was a crucial clash.
Charlie Gubb made a successful return to the NRL from a serious groin injury in the loss to the Sharks. Amazingly, the 27-year-old said by tearing his groin "off the bone" in his club debut against Newcastle, it enabled him to get back three weeks sooner than expected.
"It actually made it a lot faster, it was supposed to be eight weeks, but I played in five, I was pretty surprised myself," Gubb said.
"When they first said (what the injury was) I was thinking it might be the year. I went and got the scan and because it had torn right off it was a good thing because that's what they do in surgery anyway, they cut it right off, so it made the comeback a bit easier."
Gubb said he wasn't buying into the speculation surrounding the futures of Shannon Boyd and Junior Paulo.
The former New Zealand Warrior is on a one-year deal and with Boyd and Paulo heavily linked to the Titans and Eels respectively, Gubb could be a long-term option for Canberra.