Graham a surprise Raiders omission - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Graham a surprise Raiders omission

By Daniel Pace 08/07/2003 07:03:21 PM Comments (0)

Canberra coach Matthew Elliott dropped a bombshell, axing speedster Phil Graham from first grade for Sunday's National Rugby League clash against St George Illawarra.

Elliott said Graham, who has scored nine tries this season, was demoted simply because he hadn't been performing in a Raiders side which has lost its past three matches to slip to third on the table.

Adam Mogg has been named to replace Graham at centre for the clash with the Dragons at Oki Jubilee Stadium but he is struggling to overcome an ankle injury.

"His level of contribution hasn't been what you'd expect of himself over the last three weeks," said Elliott about Graham.

"We need to give some people the opportunity that are prepared to do that.

"Phil's only a young player and all young players go through little glitches in their career and that's what this is, a small glitch."

Halfback Brad Drew was omitted from the squad because of a niggling hamstring injury that Elliott said was getting progressively worse.

"We sat down with the medical staff and if he continued to play with it he was just going to keep going backwards," Elliott noted.

Mark McLinden is the new halfback while Michael Monaghan, who's close to signing a deal with Manly, will play off the bench.

Ben Hornby will be the fourth captain to lead the Dragons this season after injured pair Trent Barrett, Lance Thompson and NSW Origin five-eighth Shaun Timmins.

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