Campese return to boost surging Raiders - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Campese return to boost surging Raiders

Matt Sadler 21/05/2011 01:43:50 PM Comments (0)

Rehabilitating Canberra five-eighth Terry Campese claims another fairytale run to the NRL top eight is not beyond the Raiders as he eyes a return to action for the first time this season.

Sidelined since tearing the cruciate ligament in his left knee in the Raiders' heartbreaking 26-24 loss to Wests Tigers in last year's finals series, Campese remains on track to return in his side's next game against North Queensland in a fortnight.

The former Origin pivot is back running at full pace at training, his anticipated return a welcome shot in the arm after back-to-back wins for the club - the latest the 20-12 victory over Canterbury on Friday night.

And despite losing eight straight games after an opening round win over Cronulla, Campese said there was still a feeling the side could drag its way into the top eight, just as they did last year when they won eight of their final nine games.

"We definitely can do what we did last year and after this bye I'm sure that we're not too far out of the eight," Campese told AAP.

"It's only a couple more games in a row and we're definitely in contention, anyway. Our focus is week by week and getting those two points."

The double wins over the Bulldogs and Melbourne mean the pressure Campese faces on his return won't be as great as it would have been had he come back into a struggling side.

He denied there was ever a feeling he had to return ahead of schedule to help rescue the side, though just how coach David Furner juggles his playmakers remains a mystery with Josh McCrone and rookie Sam Williams having struck up a good combination over the past fortnight in the absence of Campese and injured off-season signing Matt Orford.

"There's never been no pressure off-field anyway to come back early or come and win games," Campese said.

"We've always had the belief in our squad and it's still there.

"It's been good to see all the young fellas as well with their heads held high. We've just got to keep building and get better as a side."

Furner warned it would take some time to Campese to find his feet again, as he forecast a tough couple of weeks for his co-captain while other members of the squad enjoyed some time off with next week's bye.

"With Campo, it's something that you've got to take your time," Furner said.

"It's not a case of throwing someone like that back into the side.

"He's coming back from a major injury there."

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