Josh Hodgson’s NRL season is likely after he sustained a knee injury in Canberra’s 20-14 loss to Melbourne in a horror night for the Raiders.
Hodgson finished Saturday night on crutches after suffering a likely ACL tear, as the Raiders suffered a controversial loss with a crucial first-half call going against them.
With scores level at 6-6 and 13 minutes to play in the first half, Hodgson went down on his right knee as he changed direction and tried to tackle Cameron Smith.
It headlined a frustrating few moments for the Raiders.
In the same set, Bailey Simonsson was ruled by the bunker to have taken Josh Addo-Carr out while chasing a grubber near the tryline.
The Raiders’ winger, however, appeared to have eyes only for the ball and, from the next set, Melbourne made the Raiders pay as Addo-Carr scored on Simonsson’s vacant wing.
It allowed the Storm to lead 12-6 at the break, before they extended the margin to eight points when Dunamis Lui was penalised for hitting Christian Welch off the ball.
Melbourne were still impressive without star five-eighth Cameron Munster against last year’s grand finalists.
Wearing a V on their jersey to honour people locked down in Victoria, they lost Jesse Bromwich to a knee injury early and held their line firmly despite several first-half errors at their own end.
Ryan Papenhuyzen also scored one of the tries of the weekend with a length-of-the-field effort to make it 20-6 midway through the second half.
The Storm fullback scooped up a George Williams grubber from close to his own line, and was able to change direction and streak downfield to score.
Nick Cotric gave the Raiders some brief hope, reducing the margin to 10 with 10 minutes to play from a suspect Jarrod Croker pass.
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad also crossed in the final minute, however it was too little, too late as their Hail Mary play from the ensuing kickoff fell flat.
Hodgson’s injury comes as another blow to the Raiders’ middle, and will likely leave Siliva Havili at dummy-half for the rest of the season.
The Raiders are already without fellow forwards Sia Soliola, Emre Guler and Corey Horsburgh long term. Simonsson also dislocated his shoulder late.
Canberra have won just two of their past six, and face a short turnaround into Thursday’s grand-final rematch with the Sydney Roosters.