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Canberra Raiders coach Matt Elliott says he?s excited about bringing two of the club?s best young prospects into the side for Sunday?s match against the Melbourne Storm at Canberra Stadium.
Elliott today added Terry Campese to his squad, the 20-year-old five-eighth likely to partner 18-year-old Todd Carney in the halves on Sunday.
The two junior Kangaroos representatives get their opportunity because of suspensions to senior players Jason Smith and Simon Woolford.
Elliott said he was leaning towards switching Lincoln Withers from halfback to hooker to cover for Woolford, who last night failed in his appeal against a two-match suspension.
?I?ve been quoted in recent times about the need to get guys like Todd Carney and Terry Campese into first grade to continue their rugby league development,? Elliott said. ?I?m really excited by their inclusion and what they?ve done so far at training.?
Carney and Campese both made their NRL debuts for the Raiders last year, Carney playing four matches and Campese three. Elliott was comfortable the young pair could handle the challenge against Melbourne?s clever halves, Matt Orford and Scott Hill.
?We?ve got a great deal of respect for the opposition but we want Terry and Todd to understand that we think they?re good players as well. They?re probably a little off Melbourne?s radar, but they?re certainly good players.
?I don?t get caught up in someone?s birth certificate,? Elliott said. ?I?m more interested in the qualities they bring to the team. Experience in the halves is an important factor, but Terry and Todd have both got a lot they can contribute.?
Campese, the nephew of Wallabies great David Campese, said he and Carney had benefited from training with former Australian international Jason Smith this season.
?We?ve been working with Jason since the start of the year and we?ve learned a lot,? Campese said. ?It?s a bit unlucky I don?t get to play with him [Smith] but I?m excited to be out there.
?Orford and Hill are one of the best halves combinations in the game, so it?s a tough challenge to come in against them. But I can?t wait.?
Withers wasn?t fazed about the potential of a short-term return to hooker, where he played for the Dragons last year.
?It?s a good opportunity for Todd and Terry,? Withers said. ?They?ve proved they?re good enough to be there and, if they play their own games, they?ll settle in well.?