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The Canberra Raiders have wasted no time bringing Ian Hindmarsh back from injury, naming the second-rower in the starting team for Sunday?s clash against the Roosters at Canberra Stadium.
Hindmarsh will play his first match for the club this season, having sat out the first four rounds with a calf injury.
Former Kiwi international Tyran Smith has also been named in an extended 19-man squad. Smith is available for the first time in 2005, having served a five-match suspension flowing over from last year?s semi-final against the Roosters.
With injuries to forwards Ryan O?Hara (shoulder) and Alan Rothery (eye), Raiders coach Matt Elliott said the return of Hindmarsh and Smith was a blessing.
?Obviously Ian and Tyran haven?t had a lot of field time, apart from a few trial matches,? Elliott said. ?But we?ve put a big emphasis on our rehabilitation programs this season, to make sure when our players do return from injury they?re fit and ready to go. It?s timely we have both those players back?
Centre Craig Frawley (quadriceps,calf) and utilility forward Alan Tongue (abdominal injury) have been named, but both will have to prove their fitness by Friday.
If Frawley is ruled out, winger Phil Graham is likely to push in to the centres and Matt Gafa will come into the starting team on the wing.
?I don?t want to be fiddling around with the line-up too late in the week,? Elliott said. ?I want to make sure we get a good preparation as a unit in those last couple of training sessions. The Roosters are going to be our most formidable opponent so far this season.?
O?Hara, a 2004 NSW Origin prop, is expected to miss up to a month of football with a shoulder injury. Elliott has nominated in-form back-rower Kris Kahler to start in the front-row, leaving young Michael Weyman as an impact player off the bench.
?I don?t under-estimate the role our bench plays for us in matches,? Elliott said. ?Our bench has been outstanding in the first three matches and I think Mick brings us something extra when he comes on.
?A guy who hasn?t been getting much recognition outside the club is our other prop Troy Thompson. He?s been close to the pick of our forwards in the first three games.?
RAIDERS v ROOSTERS Sunday, April 10, 3.00pm At Canberra Stadium
1. CLINTON SCHIFCOFSKE 2. PHIL GRAHAM 3. CRAIG FRAWLEY 4. ADAM MOGG 5. DAVID HOWELL 6. JASON SMITH 7. LINCOLN WITHERS 8. KRIS KAHLER 9. SIMON WOOLFORD 10. TROY THOMPSON 11. MATT ADAMSON 12. IAN HINDMARSH 13. JASON CROKER
14. MICHAEL WEYMAN 15. JOSH MILLER 16. ALAN TONGUE 17. MATT GAFA 18. TYRAN SMITH 19. MARSHALL CHALK (two to be omitted)