Dugan, Orford out for Raiders - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dugan, Orford out for Raiders

David Beniuk and Matt Sadler 12/03/2011 02:51:00 PM Comments (0)

Canberra will face an early test of their depth when they head into Sunday's round one NRL clash with Cronulla minus big names Josh Dugan and Matt Orford.

Rising star Dugan has a calf injury and failed to train on Saturday, while veteran halfback Orford is a definite non-starter with a groin problem.

Dugan is extremely doubtful and his place at fullback will be taken by David Milne.

Nineteen-year-old half Sam Williams comes into the squad for Orford.

Whether the 2010 Toyota Cup halfback of the year starts remains to be seen with hooker Alan Tongue a strong chance of taking over the playmaking duties.

Star signing Orford, 32, has been hampered during pre-season with a groin strain and has not been able to recover in time to face the Sharks.

The Raiders are already without former Test five-eighth Terry Campese until midseason after a knee reconstruction, his place taken by Josh McCrone.

The Sharks will also field an inexperienced halves combination in Wade Graham and Albert Kelly.

"It's the type of injury that you don't want to push him out there," Raiders coach David Furner said of Orford, who guided Manly to the 2008 premiership.

"It's not as if you can mask it. You need him to be fully fit."

Furner said he expected Williams to play his natural game.

"I thought Sammy was good in those first two trials ... He's had that experience," Furner said.

"He's not scared to push our bigger players around the park.

"For a young kid it's a very good skill to have in a halfback."

Two of the NRL's best packs, on paper at least, will collide with the Sharks having added former St George Illawarra premiership winner Jeremy Smith to their roster.

"We're expecting a real tough match," Tongue said.

"In all my time I've been here I don't think I can remember a good, easy victory over the Sharks.

"Tomorrow's going to be a real slogfest.

"The team that we are - big forward pack and the way that they try and defend - suits their style of play."

Canberra winger Blake Ferguson faces his former club first up after a controversial exit from the Sharks at the end of last season.

Ferguson used a loophole in his contract, that allowed him to leave when former coach Ricky Stuart stepped down, to look for greener pastures.

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