Raiders forward David Shillington. Photo: Graham Tidy
David Shillington will not be reinstated to the senior leadership group of the Canberra Raiders despite being one of three co-captains named for Saturday's crucial match with the Canterbury Bulldogs at Canberra Stadium.
Shillington, fellow prop Brett White and halfback Josh McCrone will share the captaincy in the absence of regular skipper Terry Campese.
Shillington led the Raiders previously when Campese missed the bulk of the past two seasons with back-to-back knee reconstructions, but stepped down from the leadership group earlier this season.
Fairfax Media has reported that Shillington was one of the senior players unhappy with the club's leniency shown towards controversial star Blake Ferguson. Shillington has also claimed personal form contributed to his decision.
Shillington's form has improved in recent weeks, rebounding from his omission from the Queensland State-of-Origin team with several standout performances.
Raiders coach David Furner said those improved efforts had justified Shillington earning an on-field captaincy role, even if he wasn't a part of the club's leadership group.
''We talked about the leadership group and he wanted to concentrate on his footy,'' Furner said.
''He's been playing some good football and his go-forward is a mark of leadership.
''I've got [White] and [Shillington] and Josh McCrone.
''It's a similar model to what I've done before.''
McCrone said, with tongue firmly in cheek, that having three captains would not cause confusion for referees.
''Hopefully we don't have to [talk to referees] , that's the last thing on our mind,'' McCrone said. ''Hopefully we get all the penalties, all the 50-50 decisions go our way.''
The main focus for the Raiders is keeping their finals dream alive.
Sitting ninth on the ladder with a -110 points differential before this weekend's round, the Raiders will likely need to win three of their remaining four games to sneak into the top eight.
It doesn't get any easier after this week.
The Raiders host the Sea Eagles, then travel across the Tasman to face the Warriors before rounding out their regular season against the Sharks at Canberra Stadium.
Not content with simply making up the numbers in the race to the title, McCrone said the Raiders couldn't afford to drop another game if they wanted to be a premiership contender.
''If we want to be a force in the finals, realistically we've got to win four and go in with a bit of momentum,'' McCrone said.
While the Raiders are missing Campese and workaholic lock Shaun Fensom with a season-ending thumb injury, the Bulldogs are without livewire fullback Ben Barba and front-row monster Sam Kasiano.
''One thing in our favour is that Ben Barba is out so I'm not sure who will play fullback [Sam Perrett], but they're not a regular fullback, so hopefully we can catch them out of position a couple of times,'' McCrone said.
Furner said prop Tom Learoyd-Lahrs is at least another week away from returning from a torn tendon in his foot.