‘Interferes and overplays’: Raiders’ star whacked

Josh Hodgson’s role in Canberra’s attack has been called into question after the Raiders slumped to a third loss of the season against Parramatta on Saturday night.

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart called said he was “embarrassed” by the efforts of his side against the Eels and put his team on notice in an emotional press conference.

“There’s a number of individuals who are letting the team down and once they understand the hard cold truth of it all, and or I’ve got to find someone else,” Stuart said.

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Speaking on NRL360 on Fox League, veteran Daily Telegraph reporter Phil ‘Buzz’ Rothfield tossed up a numbers of names who appeared to be under fire as well as questioning Hodgson’s role in Canberra’s attack.

“I’ve written a few names down, I’d suggest he would be talking about second-rower Hudson Young,” Rothfield said.

“He was disappointing, his defence particularly. [Lock] Joe Tapine is in the top few forwards in the game but I thought he was disappointing.

“And I suspect [centre] Curtis Scott would be among them as well, I have no intelligence there. Josh [Papalii] has been down a bit too.”

Rothfield then turned his attention to Hodgson, who missed most of 2020 with a knee injury.

Canberra’s attack was clunky up until Hodgson’s injury as George Williams and Jack Wighton struggled, but once the hooker went down Tom Starling flourished and allowed the Raiders to play some of their best football on the way to a preliminary final.

Now Hodgson is back and there are question marks over his tendance to slow the play down.

“I think they’ve got three halves,” Rothfield said.

“The hooker is taking on a bit too much and I don’t think that’s a crazy thing to say. You want his hands on the ball because he’s such a good player.”

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 17: Josh Hodgson of the Raiders looks on during the round six NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Parramatta Eels at GIO Stadium on April 17, 2021, in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Matt Blyth/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

NRL360 co-host Ben Ikin said Williams and Wighton had learned how to dictate terms and were now struggling to adjust having Hodgson back in the mix.

“[Last year] They were forced into the game – Williams and Wighton – so they learned how to run the team,” Ikin said.

“Hodgson is back, he’s the senior playmaker and he’s a great player.

“At the moment, I think the challenge is to find their rhythm together at the moment they look like they’ve lacked potency because the combination isn’t where it needs to be so over time when you are in attacking positions and you’re not getting the points you’re used to getting you get frustrated.

“Then people try too hard, Hodgson is the new bloke back into that combination.

“He tries too hard, he interferes in Wighton’s space, he overplays his hand down Williams’ side.

“Between the three of them, the whole team ends up losing its way.

“If Ricky can fix that – and there are enough sharp minds down there – it’s going to take time.

“When it finally clicks and drops in the slot, that’s why I see big things in the Raiders this year because they are three wonderful options to have at 9, 7 and 6.”

Originally published as‘Interferes, overplays’: Raiders’ star whacked

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