Orford out, Knights face injury crisis - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Orford out, Knights face injury crisis

By Joe Barton and Matt Sadler 12/04/2011 07:51:59 PM Comments (0)

A back injury has forced Canberra coach David Furner to do what many expected after a stretch of four NRL losses - dump halfback Matt Orford.

The under-fire playmaker will miss the Raiders' clash with North Queensland at Dairy Farmers stadium on Saturday night after picking up a back injury in last weekend's loss to Penrith.

Orford felt the full weight of 108kg Panthers skipper Petero Civoniceva in a tackle and was unable to train on Tuesday, forcing Furner's hand.

Young gun Sam Williams will instead line up at halfback, looking to build on his impressive debut in the Raiders' round one thrashing of Cronulla - but Furner said Orford's spot isn't in danger just yet.

"Matty sustained a good injury there on the weekend ... there was a clash there (with Civoniceva) towards the end," Furner said.

"Matt is a competitor that wants to play. I spoke about it to Matt at length.

"He couldn't train (on Tuesday), I spoke to the medical staff and they said he'd be lucky to (train on Wednesday).

"I am more than confident on what Matty is able to do. I thought last week defensively he was very strong (and) he set up the first try."

North Queensland pair James Tamou and Blake Leary copped one game bans for breaking team alcohol rules, while Gavin Cooper (dangerous throw) will also be suspended for the fixture.

Meanwhile, Newcastle's injury crisis worsened, with news several players could miss Saturday night's match against the Sharks.

The Knights, who will be without suspended secondrower Cory Paterson, could also lose hooker Isaac de Gois, prop Dan Tolar and fullback Wes Naiqama.

De Gois faces scans on Wednesday on his injured bicep, while Tolar could also require an MRI scan to assess damage on his neck and back and Naiqama is in doubt with an ankle complaint.

They would join Cameron Ciraldo (pectoral muscle), Neville Costigan (broken arm), Beau Henry (ankle), Ben Rogers (shoulder), Siuatonga Likiliki (knee) and Kyle O'Donnell (elbow) on the sideline.

Parramatta coach Stephen Kearney stuck solid with his team despite last round's 38-0 thrashing at the hands of Melbourne, with only hooker Casey McGuire returning from a calf injury.

The Gold Coast have rushed back Greg Bird (suspension) and Ashley Harrison, who will face a fitness test on his injured hamstring later this week, while representative backrower Anthony Laffranchi could miss up to eight weeks with an ankle injury.

Beau Ryan will play his first game of the season for Wests Tigers, replacing Geoff Daniela, who will miss the rest of the season with a pectoral muscle injury.

Meanwhile, Manly welcome backrower Anthony Watmough into the team after a one-week suspension for public urination, while Brett Stewart (hamstring) has also been named.

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