Rugby League


Souths shocker enough pain for axed duo

Raiders enforcer Tom Learoyd-Lahrs says the club's senior leadership group will welcome Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson back into the NRL squad today, claiming that watching Friday night's 36-18 loss to Souths was ''punishment enough''.

Dugan and Ferguson were forced to train alone over the weekend as they served a club-imposed suspension for breaching the Raiders' alcohol policy.

Ferguson had arrived at training still affected by alcohol, while Dugan was disciplined for drinking when injured.

The pair will rejoin team training today, Learoyd-Lahrs declaring they would be immediately welcomed back.

''They've paid their penalty, that would have hurt them on Friday night, sitting out watching us play and getting beaten the way we did,'' Learoyd-Lahrs said.

''That's punishment enough and I'm sure they'll be looking to get back in there and make up for it.


''I don't think there's anyone in the side that would begrudge that decision [to stand them down], I think the boys who had the punishment handed out would understand and they accepted it.

''But they've served the penalty and I don't think we can afford to dwell over that, we've got to put that behind us and hope they've learned from that.''

Dugan and Ferguson will be injected back into the team for Saturday's match against the Wests Tigers at Canberra Stadium.

The Raiders defeated the Tigers 30-16 in round four in their most impressive performance of the season, but Learoyd-Lahrs said Canberra could not carry much confidence from that victory.

The Tigers were missing Origin hooker Robbie Farah that night and have recovered from an early-season slump to win their past five matches. The Raiders have lost four of their past five games.

''They're a different side now to the one we played [in round four],'' Learoyd-Lahrs said.