Fone Zone Canberra Raiders try-scoring machine Joel Monaghan had his hopes of an early comeback from injury dashed, after failing a fitness test earlier today.
Monaghan will miss his third week of football due to a small fracture below his knee, which was discovered after the Raiders round 14 home win over Cronulla. He is expected to make his return in round 18.
The unavailability of Monaghan means the Raiders will be as per program tomorrow night, with Josh Miller dropping off the initial 5-man bench into the Premier League side and Michael Hodgson all set for his comeback from a rib injury.
The main game kicks off at 7:30pm, with the Raiders set to tackle the Wests Tigers in a must-win match for both clubs.
Meantime, The Canberra Raiders today announced that local junior and wing speedster Michael Robertson has signed on for a further two seasons at the Club.
Robertson, a local junior from the Valley Dragons Club has had an impressive 2004, holding out strong competition for his wing position, and has lined up in every first grade outing for the Raiders this season.
The 21-year-old came in to the season having played just 27 first grade games, since making his debut against the North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville in Round 22 of 2001.
Robertson, who is a product of the Raiders junior development structure, was plagued by persistent hamstring problems early in his first grade career, but has excelled in an injury-free season 2004.
The 84kg winger made a meteoric rise to first grade at the tender age of 18.
The former Erindale College student was named captain of the Raiders SG Ball (U?18?s) team in 2001, before being elevated after just one round into Wayne Collins? Premier League line-up.
The light-weight winger was thrust in to first grade after several stunning displays in Premier League, however at first struggled to find his feet in the top grade.
This season, a more experienced and bulked-up Robertson has been one of the Green Machine?s most consistent performers, crossing for seven tries in fifteen matches.
The new deal ties Robertson to the Raiders until the end of the 2006 season.
"I always said I would have preferred to stay and I?m glad its worked out that way," said Roberston.
"I?ve been in Canberra most of my life and I really wasn?t looking to move on, I?m pretty happy here."
"There was a little bit of interest there (from other Clubs) but I always wanted to stay with the Raiders," he added.
"All my mates are here at the Club, and knowing the structure and having the great coaching staff made it a pretty easy decision for me."
Raiders head coach Matthew Elliott stressed that Robertson?s signature is as important as any other at the Club.
"Robbo has been outstanding for us this season," he said.
He?s made that wing position his own with some really good performances and as his body matures and he gets a full season under his belt?he could be a future representative player."
"You?ve got to remember he?s still only 21, he?s got a lot of football ahead of him and a lot of improvement in him yet," he added.Like