Rugby League


Berrigan could fix Canberra's dummy-half dilemma

Raiders captain David Shillington has encouraged hooker Travis Waddell to ''take control'' during his unexpected recall to the NRL, while former Queensland Origin player Ben Ikin says veteran Shaun Berrigan could be the solution to Canberra's dummy-half dilemma.

Two months into the NRL season and uncertainty still shrouds the Raiders' hooking role.

Glen Buttriss had seemingly stamped himself as the club's premier No.9, starting the past five games for the Raiders.

But an untimely knee injury to Buttriss in last Sunday's loss to the Cronulla Sharks has opened the door for Waddell to have yet another crack at dummy-half.

Raiders coach David Furner is still keeping his options open, naming an extended 19-man squad to prepare for this Sunday's game against the Manly Sea Eagles at Brookvale. The squad includes former Kiwi junior international hooker, Matt McIlwrick, while veteran utility Berrigan is another option at dummy-half.

Although he has played in the centres for the Raiders, from hooker Berrigan won the Clive Churchill medal as player of the grand final in Brisbane's 2006 NRL premiership. Ikin, who played with Berrigan at Brisbane, said he wouldn't let the Raiders down.


''While it's easy to say you can't win a grand final without a quality half, I think the hooker's become as important, if not more important, to a successful footy side,'' Ikin said.

''Dummy-half is such an important position because it's the smarts of your number nine that allows your forward pack to get the roll on to allow anything to happen.

''I like Berro anywhere because he is such a competitor. He's one of those rare players that has that mix of toughness and creativity.

''I can't see Shaun Berrigan doing anything but a good job if given the dummy-half position for the Raiders.

''It's important the Raiders settle on a combination of number nines. They need to be given a lot of time to prove their wares and play some quality football. You can't keep chopping and changing, it'd be like changing your half and five-eighth every other week.''

Waddell, off contract at the end of the season and playing for his NRL career, was dropped the NSW Cup last week in favour of McIlwrick. The Indigenous All Stars representative has been named to start against Manly and Shillington urged Waddell to make the most of his recall to the NRL.

''I'm hoping that Travy will take this massive, massive opportunity with two hands,'' Shillington said.

''Whatever game time Travy gets I hope and imagine he'd go flat out. We are really looking for a number nine to take control of the team.''