Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart admits losing Josh Hodgson for the season is a huge blow but is backing the rest of his squad to fill the void.
The Raiders are keen to get back in to the top eight and play finals this season but will have to do it without Hodgson, who damaged his ACL and will need a knee reconstruction.
Stuart is already without star halfback Jamal Fogarty who has his own injury and will only return mid-season so the loss of Hodgson is a double whammy.
The hooker has played his last game for the club after agreeing a deal to join Parramatta Eels for the start of the 2023 NRL season.
“Losing Josh for the season now gives us a headache and it puts pressure on our other players who have to fill into those positions,” Stuart said.
The loss of Hodgson does present an opportunity to Tom Starling who has filled in for the Englishman in the past. And Stuart is backing him to fill the void once again.
“(The injury) means Tommy plays a different role, a different role to what he does when Josh is starting,” Stuart added. “It’s back to where he was in 2020. He started a lot of games, played a lot more minutes than what he was used to, but fortunately for us he’s got the ability to do that.
“Tom’s a tough, conscientious style of player. He’s still developing and improving and that’s certainly the way he trains too. He doesn’t lack any attention to detail with his training, he works very hard and he’s committed.”