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No greater challenge than Storm: Campese

Canberra skipper Terry Campese says he could face no greater challenge as he returns to the Raiders' starting side for the first time in over a year than taking on undefeated NRL premiers Melbourne.
No greater challenge than Storm: Campese
by AAP

By David Barbeler

CANBERRA, May 1 AAP - Canberra skipper Terry Campese says he could face no greater challenge as he returns to the Raiders' starting side for the first time in over a year than taking on undefeated NRL premiers Melbourne.

Campese's long-awaited comeback game off the bench against the Warriors in round six was a roaring success, with the 28-year-old supplying the cross-field kick for winger Edrick Lee's match-winner in the final minutes.

But the former Australia and NSW representative was brought back down to earth last Saturday when the Raiders lost too much possession and were beaten 30-12 by North Queensland.

Halfback Sam Williams has been dropped to work on his defence, with Josh McCrone sliding across from five-eighth to give Campese his first start in over 12 months.

"(Returning) was only a matter of time and this week there's no greater challenge and I'm just excited to be back in that starting side," Campese said.

But with star Raiders players David Shillington (ribs), Josh Papalii (knee), Jarrod Croker (knee) and Joel Thompson (toe) all out with injuries, Campese admits his side faces an uphill battle against the table-topping Storm at AAMI Park on Saturday.

"We're definitely missing (Shillington's) impact in the forwards," he said.

"And with Papalii out as well, they're probably the two best performers in the side and it's just something we'll have to pick up the slack.

"It's a massive challenge for myself and for the team. Everybody will have to be up for it and bring their A-game."

Campese has had a horror run of injuries, with two knee reconstructions and a serious groin injury limiting him to just 10 matches since 2010.

Despite any hesitancy he may have had in contact situations, Campese said his defence in the past two games had been a lot better than expected.

"I haven't missed too many tackles if any. I feel confident physically and mentally out there," he said.

"I'll definitely have to be up for the challenge this week as we'll be up against one of the best attacking sides with Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith."

And while the Storm remain unbeaten in seven matches, Campese said he felt the Warriors exposed a few chinks in the armour in their 28-18 loss on Thursday.

"I think they threw the ball around a fair bit. It's just about completing your sets and making those tackles," he said.


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