AAP Rugby

Raiders’ Stuart hints rep star withdrawals

By AAP Newswire

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart is adamant he won't be risking any of his unfit players during next week's representative round after an injury to Nick Cotric.

NSW could be forced to make at least one more change from its State of Origin I team after Cotric suffered an ankle injury in Thursday's NRL win over Cronulla.

Cotric limped from the field midway through the second half and Stuart was unsure of the severity of the injury post-game.

It is the latest blow for a Raiders side that have rarely fielded their top-17 this season, and are currently without co-captain Josh Hodgson.

"I don't know anything at the moment (about Nick), but I've never seen a season like it in regards to key players being injured," Stuart said.

"It's frustrating but we've had to put up with it from round five or so, when it all started to happen to us.

"I just hope we get a little bit of fortune or luck and it's not too bad.

"My hopes are that it's not too bad. We've got a bye this week, or we've got the rep round and I just hope it's a sprain and nothing too much more than that."

The Raiders could have up to seven players participating in next week's representative round, including a possible three Origin players.

Jordan Rapana and Joe Tapine, both of whom have battled various injuries already this year, were named in a 27-man New Zealand squad on Thursday.

Siliva Havili and Dunamis Lui could also be picked for Samoa.

However, with his team currently sitting in third spot, Stuart threatened to pull any of his players if their medical staff deem them unfit.

"It'll be interesting because I've got some busted blokes at the moment," he said.

"None of them will be playing representative football if they have any, any injury cloud at all. Not one of them.

"There's a number of blokes wounded in there at the moment.

"I'm all for them playing rep footy. But the club comes first and if they have any injury cloud, they won't be playing."