Canberra coach David Furner has retained Matt Orford at halfback for Friday night’s clash with Penrith, despite intense pressure on him to sack the former Dally M medallist.
Orford has struggled in his NRL return this year and made crucial mistakes in the Raiders loss to Gold Coast last weekend.
Canberra’s only win this season came back in round one when Sam Williams played an outstanding game in place of an injured Orford.
With Williams maintaining his strong form in the Toyota Cup, critics were calling for the rookie to return and Orford to be dropped and forced to find his feet in the NSW Cup.
However, Furner has resisted the push to demote his big money signing and looks set to give Orford a chance to turn things around against the equally battling Panthers.
Raiders fullback Josh Dugan has been ruled out with a calf injury and isn’t expected back until round nine, while Dane Tilse will also miss the Penrith clash with a hamstring stain.
Blake Ferguson reverts to fullback in Dugan’s absence, while Reece Robinson slots onto the wing.
An extended squad has been named and Furner will omit two from a bench which features Glenn Buttriss, Josh Miller, Danny Galea, Brett White, David Milne and James Stuart.
by Buford Balony