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Friday, June 18, 2021

Papalii, Wighton and Hodgson all facing suspensions

UPDATE: The Raiders have accepted the early guilty plea for all three players. Papalii will miss three matches, including the opening Origin game, while Wighton and Hodgson will miss just the one week.

The Canberra Raiders look set to be without three of their stars with Josh Papalii, Jack Wighton and Josh Hodgson all facing bans after the Raiders 20-18 win over the Bulldogs at Suncorp Stadium.

Papalii was sent off in the second half for a high shot and faces a three week ban with an early guilty plea. The ban will extend to five matches if he fights the charge and loses. The three-game ban would see Papalii unavailable for Queensland in the opening State of Origin game on 9 June.

Wighton was sin binned in the second half for a cannonball tackle and will miss a week with an early guilty plea and two if he fights and loses.

Hodgson returned from a calf injury and was an important player off the bench for Canberra, but now faces a week on the sidelines after picking up a grade two dangerous contact charge after a chicken wing tackle. He faces two weeks on the sideline if he fights the charge and loses.

The Raiders went into the Bulldogs match on a five-game losing streak and showed plenty of character to produce a comeback win despite being down to 11 men at one stage late in the match.

Canberra will need to find a way to improve on that performance without their suspended trio if they are any chance of beating the Melbourne Storm on Saturday night, 22 May at GIO Stadium.

Sam Williams or Matt Frawley would be the obvious choices to replace Wighton in the halves while Siliva Havili could slot back onto the bench for Hodgson. Papalii’s replacement proves a little more difficult with Joe Tapine, Ryan Sutton and Sia Soliola all injured.

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