WILL Scone Thoroughbreds junior Adam Clydsdale answer the Canberra Raiders’ SOS call this weekend – that’s the million dollar question?
With the side’s first choice hooker, English import Josh Hodgson, racing the clock to be fit for Saturday’s do-or-die NRL semi-final against the Penrith Panthers, coach Ricky Stuart is considering a couple of options.
One is bringing Clydsdale into the 17; the other is switching halfback Sam Williams to rake, following the return of five-eighth Blake Austin.
The Raiders suffered a further setback on Wednesday night when rookie forward Clay Priest broke his ankle at training.
Canberra’s other hooker, Kurt Baptiste, is already named in the first grade squad, which leaves the door open for Clydsdale.
Hodgson rates himself a “slim” chance to play at Canberra Stadium on the weekend, but admits he would be “devastated” if he can’t play.
And, the England international says he needs to be running by Friday to convince Stuart he’ll be able to handle the NRL finals cauldron.
“I’m having to play it day-by-day and just see how it settles down,” he told the Canberra Times.
“It settled down pretty well yesterday, but then today it’s a little bit sore again.
“I’m just taking each day as it comes really.”
Hodgson rolled his ankle when his left leg tangled with teammate Aidan Sezer in the Raiders’ heartbreaking 16-14 qualifying final loss to the Cronulla Sharks last Saturday.
He has a ligament tear and is walking with a slight limp, with his left ankle braced and heavily strapped on Tuesday.
Word out of the Raiders camp on Sunday was Hodgson had been ruled out of the semi-final and was only a chance of playing in the preliminary final against the Melbourne Storm – if they made it.
But, Stuart named him on Tuesday.
Clydsdale’s inaugural match for Canberra was an entertaining affair.
The local youngster played 11 minutes in the team’s thrilling 26-22 extra-time victory over the New Zealand Warriors at GIO Stadium.
He produced six tackles during his brief appearance, after being called into the Raiders’ line-up as a replacement for Baptiste.
Clydsdale, who started his rugby league career as a junior for the Thoroughbreds, made his NRL debut with the Newcastle Knights where he played 40 games between 2013 until the end of last season.
He was later released from the Knights and signed a two-year contract with the Raiders, bolstering Canberra’s dummy half stocks headlined by Hodgson and Baptiste.
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