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Injuries hurting Dogs' NRL finals charge

Bulldogs lose Sam Kasiano to injury

Their top four hopes dashed, Canterbury are now fighting to hold onto home-ground advantage in week one of the NRL finals in the face of a crippling injury toll.
Injuries hurting Dogs' NRL finals charge
by AAP

By Steve Jancetic

SYDNEY, Aug 13 AAP - Their top four hopes dashed, Canterbury are now fighting to hold onto home-ground advantage in week one of the NRL finals in the face of a crippling injury toll.

With star fullback Ben Barba (ankle) unlikely to play before the last round of the regular season, the Bulldogs on Tuesday confirmed in-form forwards Sam Kasiano and Greg Eastwood would be sidelined until the start of the finals series.

Kasiano has knee ligament damage and Eastwood a hand injury, debilitating a forward pack which had just begun to rumble in the run home to playoffs.

The loss of Kasiano is particularly devastating given the way he monstered the St George Illawarra pack in round 21, the Kiwi big man limping off just before halftime in Monday night's loss to Gold Coast.

Dale Finucane and James Graham have been elevated to the starting pack, with Martin Tapau and Tim Browne coming onto the bench for Saturday's trip south to play Canberra.

The Raiders were not immune to a weekend of carnage in the NRL, with tackle-happy lock Shaun Fensom ruled out for 4-6 weeks with a thumb injury which required surgery on Tuesday.

"I was hoping I could play with the injury and get through the year before having surgery at the end of the season," Fensom said in a statement released by the club.

"Unfortunately the risk of permanent damage was too great so I have to get it done now."

Five-eighth Terry Campese was named but will continue to be monitored after having scans on an injured eye socket.

South Sydney will regain star pair Greg Inglis and John Sutton when they attempt to end a two-game losing streak against Manly in Gosford on Friday night.

The Rabbitohs have maintained their three-Burgess quota, with prop Luke Burgess to play his first NRL game of the year in place of suspended brother Sam.

The return of Justin Horo will help lessen the pain of Manly losing back-rower Anthony Watmough for 2-3 weeks with a posterior cruciate ligament injury.

David Stagg will fill in for Justin Hodges after the Brisbane centre ruptured his Achilles tendon on Sunday, the Broncos continuing to walk the final tightrope against last-placed Parramatta on Friday night.

Cronulla welcome back experienced winger Beau Ryan and back-rower Anthony Tupou, the latter's return timely given Wade Graham will miss the local derby against St George Illawarra.

The Dragons have lost Josh Dugan (ankle) and Trent Merrin (knee) for the season, with Charly Runciman coming into a revamped backline and Will Mathews onto the bench.




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