Rugby League

Canberra Raiders halves Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer to miss 4-6 weeks

Canberra Raiders halves Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer have been ruled out for four to six weeks after suffering injuries in Saturday's 30-22 round one win over Penrith at Canberra Stadium.

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Low blows galore as Canberra topple Penrith

A couple of unsavoury incidents soured Canberra's first win of the year. Both teams also lost key players, with James Segeyaro and Blake Austin facing a stint on the sidelines.

Austin damaged medial ligaments in his right knee in the second half, in his return from a shoulder reconstruction, but his latest injury isn't expected to require surgery.

Sezer sustained a fractured eye socket, which he played on with, and will have surgery on Tuesday.

Blake Austin is not expected to need surgery for his latest injury.
Blake Austin is not expected to need surgery for his latest injury. Photo: Stefan Postles

Halfback Sam Williams is expected to come back into the team for Saturday's home game against the Sydney Roosters, after he was a late withdrawal on the weekend due to a virus.

It is unclear who will replace Austin at five-eighth, however fullback Jack Wighton was moved there last year when injury struck and he appears to be the most likely option.

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Another possibility is to hand rookie half and under-20s captain Lachlan Croker an NRL debut.

Should Wighton move to the halves, Sisa Waqa is expected to be recalled to play fullback.

Aidan Sezer broke his eye socket in the first round victory.
Aidan Sezer broke his eye socket in the first round victory. Photo: Jay Cronan

Austin and Sezer were part of a big NRL casualty ward from multiple clubs in round 1.

It was also revealed on Sunday that the Raiders and Panthers knocked back drinks breaks during Saturday's sweltering conditions.

Wighton has played every position in the back line in his 68 NRL games, and started the 2014 season at five-eighth before ending it at fullback. 

He is confident he can do the job should Raiders coach Ricky Stuart hand him the no.6 jersey. 

Aside from more kicking and organising, Wighton generally plays the role as a second fullback, focusing on his running game. 

"I'm happy to do what's best for the team and give it my best," Wighton said on Monday. 

"Obviously there's more of an organising role moving to the halves, but Sammy Williams takes a lot of pressure off his other haves with how good he is organising the game. 

"It's always a good battle against the Roosters, they're coming off a loss [42-10 to Souths] so they're only going to be tougher."

Wighton backed Croker's credentials immediately after the Panthers match, and reiterated that opinion on Monday.  

"He played great in the twenties and has been a great player for a couple of years," Wighton said. 

"He's had a few bad injuries, he's matured and he's up for taking on the role if we do need him. 

"I think Lachie's a lot more mature in the head than me, he takes that leader role really well and has led the twenties around. 

"He'll be right to step up to the job if asked."

Raiders prop Jeff Lima racked up 117 metres in just 26 minutes after coming off the bench late in the game. 

He believes Canberra can cover their two playmaking talismen. 

"It's disappointing the boys are injured; they did well in their first game [together] in the green jersey but the good thing about us is we have good depth.

"We had Hodgso [Josh Hodgson] playing five-eighth and we have Sammy coming back. 

The Raiders have a favourable draw after the Roosters. They travel to Newcastle in round three, before they host Gold Coast in round four.  

Saturday

Canberra Raiders vs Sydney Roosters at GIO Stadium, 3pm.

TV: Live on Fox Sports. Tickets from Ticketek.

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