Raiders name Tongue at five-eighth - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Raiders name Tongue at five-eighth

By Todd Balym 10/06/2008 07:29:10 PM Comments (0)

Injury-ravaged Canberra have been forced to shift skipper Alan Tongue into five-eighth after losing centre Adrian Purtell for up to six weeks with a knee injury.

Purtell suffered a medial ligament strain against Parramatta last week and is expected to miss between three and six weeks.

Terry Campese will shift from pivot to centre as Tongue moves into the halves for Sunday's battle with Brisbane at Canberra Stadium.

It is the second positional swap within a month for Tongue who just three weeks ago moved from lock to hooker after Lincoln Withers was ruled out for the year with a knee injury.

Purtell joins a long-list of knee injuries at the Raiders with Withers, fullback William Zillman and centre Phil Graham all to miss the rest of 2008.

Forwards Tom Learoyd-Lahrs (knee), Neville Costigan (quadriceps) and Marshall Chalk (thumb) are also sidelined for extended periods with injury.

However hooker Ryan Hinchcliffe is back from his extended layoff with a thumb injury and prop Michael Weyman will play his first game since being suspended for punching Gold Coast's Daniel Conn in round four.

Assistant coach David Furner said Campese's move to the centre and Tongue joining Todd Carney in the halves would not cause too much disruption to the Raiders.

"Alan has played in the halves before and he's also a very good organiser," said Furner.

"He's been in a situation at nine over the past few weeks where he's been more of an organiser, so we don't see too much of a change there."

The Broncos have included their Origin stars Karmichael Hunt, Sam Thaiday, Ben Hannant, Darius Boyd and Peter Wallace while Darren Lockyer remains unavailable with his knee complaint.

New Zealand Warriors coach Ivan Cleary has responded to the shock defeat to strugglers South Sydney by dumping Epalahame Lauaki to NSW Cup and sending Russell Packer and Sonny Fai back to the under 20s squad for Saturday's trip to Cronulla's Toyota Stadium.

Captain Steve Price and centre Brent Tate return from Queensland Origin duty while veteran second-rower Logan Swann has been recalled to add some defensive starch to the Warriors lineup.

Cleary meanwhile has named 19-year-old Ben Matulino on the bench and the Wellington junior is set to become the third Warriors under 20s player to make his NRL debut this year.

"Our defensive effort wasn't acceptable against South Sydney and it hasn't been what we would expect in several other games this season," Cleary said.

"We have to get it right against Cronulla and Logan will help us there. He's one of our most consistent defenders."

There are few others changes among the NRL teams with all naming their Queensland and NSW stars pending their recovery from Wednesday's second State of Origin clash at Suncorp Stadium.

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