Tongue licking lips over Campo's form - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tongue licking lips over Campo's form

By Ian McCullough 03/03/2010 07:46:27 PM Comments (0)

The new NRL season may still be two weeks away, but Canberra captain Alan Tongue has already tipped Raiders five-eighth Terry Campese to return to the NSW State of Origin side this year.

Campese was dumped by Blues selectors following a disappointing debut in the 28-18 defeat by Queensland in the opening match of the 2009 series and Tongue said the playmaker struggled to cope with his axing.

But after a disappointing second half to last season, Tongue said the 25-year-old has looked a different player since reporting to pre-season training.

"The development of Terry is hugely exciting not just for us, but the game as a whole, he is evolving as a player and I think we will see the best of him this season," Tongue told AAP.

"It is only human to knock your confidence after being dropped, but having watched the pre-season he has had and the form he has shown in the trials, I think Campo is going to explode this year."

Canberra have struggled to keep coaches and some of their big-name players in recent years, with William Zillman, Neville Costigan and Michael Weyman following mentors Neil Henry and Matthew Elliott out of the club.

However, Tongue believes the decision to lock Campese into a long-term deal gives the Raiders stability in a crucial position, predicting he will be the face of the Green Machine for many years.

"We have managed to lock him away for the next four or five years and he will be the leader of this club ... and I expect to see him back in a rep jumper very soon," he said.

Tongue also tipped Josh Dugan to add his name to the list of outstanding NRL fullbacks.

Dugan enjoyed a stellar rookie season in 2009, leading the league in metres gained.

And his skipper believes the sky is the limit for the 19-year-old, who produced one of the tackles of the season in round 26 to deny former Brisbane giant David Taylor a certain try.

"He is a kid who has put his body on the line last year like someone who is 15 kilos heavier and 10 years older," he said.

"He is a hell of a talent and I can only see big things from him this season."

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