Campese shines in Canberra's solid win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Campese shines in Canberra's solid win

By Steve Jancetic 11/08/2008 08:08:53 PM Comments (0)

Those searching for a positive out of Canberra's decision to sack troubled halfback Todd Carney need only turn to his former halves partner Terry Campese.

The nephew of former Wallaby great David Campese turned the first match of Canberra's post-Carney era into his own coming out party, Campese's stunning display in Sunday's 74-12 win over Penrith shedding some of the doom and gloom that had descended on the Raiders.

Many critics believed they would struggle to overcome the loss of their No.1 playmaker, with Carney's four-year contract terminated last week following a string of off-field indiscretions.

But, seeing the confidence with which five-eighth Campese stepped into the breach, Raiders skipper Alan Tongue predicted representative honours may not be beyond the 24-year-old.

"If he keeps doing what he's doing at the moment and improving at the rate he is, a rep jumper's definitely not out of the question," Tongue said on Monday.

"He's always been confident in his ability, but he's just come along so much with the more first grade games he's played.

"He's consistently been in there now the last couple of years and I think he's getting smarter with the way he plays his footy."

Campese's far from an overnight success, having struggled to cement a first grade berth after making his NRL debut in the second round of 2004.

He managed just 20 more games over the following four seasons but, along with prop Dane Tilse, is the only Raider to appear in all 20 matches so far this year.

Not only is he now a regular in the green machine, he is also being thrown up as the new cornerstone of the club following Carney's sacking.

"There's no doubt we're going to miss Toddy's football brain and what he added to the side, but we've had to move on as a group and I think Terry's shown that he's ready to step into that leadership role, especially in the halves," Tongue said.

"It seems the more pressure (he's been under) the better he's got. He's still only a young guy, it's pretty exciting."

The Raiders moved into sixth spot courtesy of Sunday's win, but Tongue said they weren't getting ahead of themselves in relation to finals.

This despite the friendliest run home of any side in the competition, three of their last four matches against the bottom three sides.

"We're pretty aware of our situation, we have a couple of losses in the next few weeks and all our hard work comes undone," Tongue said.

"There's no over-confidence with the guys.

"(the win over Penrith) doesn't change the mentality we have here, we're still just trying to make the finals and whether we're flying under the radar or not, we know we have to keep having 17 blokes committed to playing footy each weekend."

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