The Canberra Raiders have been dealt a severe injury blow in their 20-14 loss to the Melbourne Storm at GIO Stadium on Saturday night, 11 July.
Raiders co-captain Josh Hodgson went down late in the first half clutching his right knee after attempting to make a tackle and it is feared he has suffered a suspected ACL injury and will likely miss the rest of the season.
The injury capped off a disastrous night for the Raiders in which it felt like whatever could go wrong, did go wrong.
The first play to go awry for the Raiders was in the 9th minute when Jahrome Hughes put through a kick into the Raiders in-goal area which Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad looked to have under control.
However, he failed to push the ball dead and Brenko Lee punced on his mistake to give the Storm a 6-0 lead.
After a few mistakes from the Storm, the Raiders piled on the pressure and in the 22nd minute, Josh Papalii bulldozed his way over the line to level the scores at 6-6.
The most controversial moment of the game came in the 27th minute when Bailey Simonsson and Josh Addo-Carr collided when chasing a kick near the Storm’s attacking goal line.
Despite the collision looking rather innocuous, the bunker decided Simonnson had deliberately taken out Addo-Carr and he was sent to the sin bin, a decision that left Raiders coach Ricky Stuart perplexed.
“There was no way Bailey Simonsson should have been sent from the field when he was going for the ball,” said Stuart.
“I don’t want to make a big issue of it, but I just don’t understand how we use all this technology and money and still get it wrong.”
The Storm took full advantage of the extra man with Addo-Carr scoring a try where Simonnson would have been to make it 12-6 after 29 minutes.
That would remain the half-time score in what was a half that featured plenty of errors due to the slippery surface after a day of rain in Canberra.
The Raiders had some more hard luck after the break when a soft penalty gifted the Storm an easy penalty goal to make it 14-6 after 53 minutes.
The Raiders looked certain to have scored when Elliott Whitehead sliced through the Storm’s defence but unfortunately, he landed just short of the try line and lost control of the ball.
Just 3 minutes later, Ryan Papenhuyzen collected a kick on his own 10 metre line before breaking a tackle and sprinting 90 metres to score a fantastic solo try to give the Storm a 20-6 lead.
Nick Cotric scored a try after a nice move down the left in the 67th minute to get the Raiders back to within 10 points.
The Raiders also lost Simonnson late in the match when he left the field holding his right shoulder but they continued to try their hearts out.
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad crossed over in the corner to make it 20-14 with under a minute to go and give the Raiders one last chance but it was to no avail.
The Raiders showed tremendous effort to get within 6 points considering how much went against them, but now have to lick their wounds quickly as they only get a 5 day break before they face the Roosters on Thursday night, 16 July.