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Canberra hit by backline injuries

Canberra are running short of outside backs as they try to reboot their stalled NRL finals challenge after another dispiriting away loss.
Canberra hit by backline injuries
by AAP

By Adrian Warren

SYDNEY, June 29 AAP - Canberra are running short of outside backs as they try to reboot their stalled NRL finals challenge after another dispiriting away loss.

The Raiders were crushed 32-2 by competition leaders Souths in Sydney on Friday night.

It was an eighth loss in nine away games this season.

The defeat looks certain to drop them out of eighth spot, as four other teams who started the round level on points with them will play over the weekend.

Injuries were added to the insult of being belted by Souths, with centre Jack Wighton (groin) and winger Sandor Earl (dislocated elbow) both hurt in the ANZ Stadium clash.

Earl may struggle to make it back before the end of the season.

The Raiders entered Friday's game without suspended back Blake Ferguson and injured winger Edrick Lee (arm).

"They are quality people," Canberra coach David Furner said of his unavailable backs.

Furner said he would assess the possibility of bringing in recent backline recruits Bill Tupou and Jordan Rapana for their next game against North Queensland.

Canberra are also down in the prop department with Brett White (eye) and Tom Learoyd-Lahrs (foot) also on the casualty list.

Furner said Canberra were OK getting out of their own end but struggled to build pressure.

Successive home fixtures against the struggling Cowboys and Eels punctuated by a bye are looming as must-win games for the Raiders, who have a 6-0 win-loss record in Canberra.

"We spoke about that after the game, going back to our home ground," Canberra captain and five-eighth Terry Campese said.

"We've been good there this year, but we have to pick up from that performance tonight if we want to be any chance against the Cowboys.

"With these injuries the guys that are coming in have got a big job to fill because Sandor and Jacko, if they are both ruled out, they've been probably two of our best players.

"We've got a tough one this weekend and we've got to turn it around quickly."


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