Canberra to farewell stalwart Tongue - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Canberra to farewell stalwart Tongue

By Matthew Sadler 26/08/2011 06:29:57 PM Comments (0)

A big crowd is expected to farewell Canberra captain Alan Tongue when he runs out for his last NRL home match against Penrith on Saturday.

"There's some mixed emotions there but there's probably more excitement than anything," Tongue told reporters on Friday as he prepared for his 219th game for the club.

The 14th-placed Raiders need to win as they look to avoid the wooden spoon.

"We know it's going to be a tough challenge. The Panthers have played some good footy of late and we need to be on top of our game and defensively we need to be switched on," he said.

"They've got a good forward pack."

Raiders coach David Furner said his players must stay focused after mistakes cost them dearly in last weekend's 26-18 loss to the Gold Coast.

"We've got a fairly committed side we're going to play against and we need to play our best footy," Furner said.

"I think our last three weeks there haven't been what I would class as our best. That's just attention to detail and it's individual accountability."

Furner added they were desperate to send their talismanic skipper out on a high.

"He deserves to go out a winner," he said.

Fullback Josh Dugan is only a longshot to make his return from injury.

Eleventh-placed Penrith, who also cannot make the finals, will be without centre Michael Jennings who has a shoulder injury.

The Panthers have not had much success at Canberra in recent years, winning just one game from their past six attempts.

Canberra's sorry season does have a silver lining, with winger Blake Ferguson committing to the club until 2014 on Friday.

Ferguson left Cronulla under a cloud last year, claiming he was joining the Raiders so he could win a premiership.

Despite the 21-year-old's consistent debut season for the Green Machine, scoring 13 tries in 22 matches, the Raiders have won just six times.

However, Ferguson insists he has no regrets about moving.

"We haven't performed as well as we had hoped this year but you can feel amongst the players that success isn't too far away and I want to be a part of that," Ferguson said.

"The players here at the club are a great bunch of blokes and I know we can do better than we have this year.

"I've still got a lot to learn as a player and I want to improve and become a better player and this is the place to do it."

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