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Hodgson: Raiders lack luck, not form

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26th June, 2019
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Canberra co-captain Josh Hodgson admits they’ll need some luck, but he says the Raiders can win their first NRL title in 25 years this season.

The Raiders have named their strongest side since round two to face Parramatta in Darwin on Saturday, with Hodgson returning from a thumb injury that forced him to miss three games.

Despite being riddled with injuries for most of the season, the Green Machine are chasing four straight wins with NSW winger Nick Cotric the only player sidelined from their optimal 17.

BJ Leilua would also be in the strongest side but the reigning Dally M centre of the year is highly unlikely to return this season as he recovers from a neck injury.

Hodgson said he was “itching” to get back on the park and praised the young guns for keeping Canberra in the top four in his absence.

“If we get beat this week I might get the sack,” Hodgson joked to reporters.

“Nah, they’ve done a really good job. We’ve been backs to the wall a few times this season, we’ve had our full right edge out.

“We lost Batey (John Bateman) for a few weeks, we’ve lost BJ for most of the year, Rapa (Jordan Rapana) has had two stints on the sideline and (Aidan) Sezer was out earlier in the year.

“We’ve had a lot of injuries but the young boys that have come in have done a really good job and that’s what you need to be a successful team.

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“You can’t be hoping and praying they’ll come in and have a good game, you have to have confidence in them that they’ll do the job, and they all have.”

Hodgson said the Raiders are capable of winning their first premiership since 1994 but only if they can keep the injury ward empty.

“When we lost a couple back-to-back everyone was saying the wheels have fallen off, there goes Canberra they’ll be falling out of the eight. Now we’ve won a few and they’re all talking us up again, so you can’t get carried away,” he said.

“We need to keep as many hands on deck as we can so come the back end of the year we can give finals a real shout.

“There has to be a bit of luck coming into it too in terms of injuries, it’s not just about being the best team.”