Josh Hodgson returns for the Raiders. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Josh Hodgson returns for the Raiders. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Warning after Raiders rush hooker back

STAR hooker Josh Hodgson has been rushed back into Canberra's team as the Raiders look to keep their NRL season alive.

The English international has been recovering from an ACL injury suffered in last year's World Cup, meaning he will play only 187 days after having surgery in December.

Hodgson is straight back into the starting line-up for Canberra's round 15 clash with West Tigers on Sunday, with back-up No.9 Siliva Havili relegated to the bench.

The Raiders had long pencilled in a round 16-18 return for their marquee player but his recovery has been better than expected.

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart didn't rule out picking the 28-year-old this weekend when asked following the Raiders' one-point loss to Penrith last Friday.

"We've missed Josh this year," Stuart said.

"But we couldn't be happier with how (Havili) has progressed and he's not far from re-signing.

"We're going to be a stronger team with them both in the team."

Josh Hodgson will start in the No.9 jersey. Picture Kym Smith
Josh Hodgson will start in the No.9 jersey. Picture Kym Smith

But Canberra legend Steve Walters has cautioned against Raiders supporters expecting Hodgson to be their saviour immediately.

The Raiders (5-8) sit 10th on the ladder and two games adrift of eighth-placed Brisbane, meaning it's now-or-never if they want to avoid missing finals for the second season in a row.

"I've never had a knee reconstruction, but I'm pretty sure it will take him a little bit to get back to his best," Walters told Fairfax Media.

"We need to be a bit patient there and not expect things too quickly."


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