Storm's Johnson in doubt to face Raiders - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm's Johnson in doubt to face Raiders

27/06/2009 03:20:10 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne lock Dallas Johnson and centre Greg Inglis remain in doubt for Sunday's NRL clash with Canberra while captain Cameron Smith is tipped to start off the bench as the Storm count the cost of Queensland's Origin win.

Johnson has struggled to recover from an exhausting Origin II performance last Wednesday, churning out 65 gut-busting minutes despite being on a hydration drip following a stomach virus just an hour before kick off.

Storm officials were concerned at the amount of weight the tireless lock had lost when they saw television footage of him in the Queensland change rooms prior to kick off but it will take some serious talking for the club to convince Johnson to stand down.

Centre Greg Inglis (concussion) is unlikely to play despite being cleared of a fractured jaw from the heavy knock he copped in the opening half of Origin II.

Both travelled with the Storm to Canberra on Saturday but officials will wait until Sunday to decide whether either will face the Raiders.

Smith, meanwhile, is expected to start on the bench for former Raider Ryan Hinchcliffe as he did following the Test match for Australia earlier in the season as coach Craig Bellamy manages the hooker's workload through a busy representative season.

Former NSW winger Anthony Quinn is likely to replace Inglis as he continues his own recovery from a head injury sustained in round seven while Aiden Tolman would come in for Johnson.

"Whoever they put on the park we still have to play," said Canberra five-eighth Terry Campese.

"They showed after Origin I they can still come out and play when they smashed the Broncos down there."

This is a must-win game for Canberra, sitting four points outside the top eight and struggling in 14th place on the NRL table.

The Raiders were belted 46-6 by Melbourne only five weeks ago and another loss would virtually cut them from finals contention.

The Storm are undefeated in their past eight outings against Canberra, the Raiders' last win coming back in 2005.

"Our confidence is still up there, but this weekend it doesn't get any easier," said Campese.

"It's almost a must-win game for us, that's what the focus on."

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