Having lost five out of their last six games, the Raiders will come out of a bye having to face the Bulldogs and Wests Tigers without Josh Papalii.
Canberra’s season of woe has sunk to new depths after news their best NRL player, Josh Papalii, will be out for up to four weeks with an ankle injury.
Having already lost five out of their last six games, the Raiders will come out of next weekend’s bye having to face the second-placed Bulldogs and then the seventh-placed Wests Tigers minus their number one wrecking ball.
Further adding to the Raiders’ long list of problems, their most promising young forward, Paul Vaughan, has been placed on report for a crusher tackle during the 28-4 loss to Brisbane in Canberra on Monday night.
Papalii, who was the only Raiders player to don a State of Origin jumper in game one, injured his ankle late in the second half.
It’s the same injury that sidelined him for three matches following round two.
The recurrence ruled him out of State of Origin game two less than an hour after he was named in the Maroons’ 22-man squad alongside Raiders teammate and close friend Anthony Milford.
Despite the crushing blow, Papalii was resolute after the match.
“Injuries happen, you just have to deal with it and see how you bounce back,” the Kangaroos star said.
“I’ve been carrying this injury for a while now. I’ve got to go back and get it right.”
Milford was also seen limping around during the second half, but says he’ll be fine to join the Maroons camp.
Papalii’s injury and the 24-point thumping cap off a torrid week for the Raiders in which James Tedesco publicly humiliated them by backflipping out of a lucrative deal with the club.
With all the club’s been through in recent weeks it’s no wonder Raiders coach Ricky Stuart says this weekend’s bye is coming at a good time.
“We’ve got a few knocks and bruises and have had a lot of travel over the 13 weeks,” he said.
“There’s a bit of wear and tear on the boys.”