DOGS DOWNED | Canberra came from the clouds to down Canterbury in the National Capital this afternoo...
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Canberra fans have begun a fundraising campaign to help pay the $10,000 fine handed to Raiders coach Neil Henry for criticising an NRL referee.
Henry copped the fine after questioning the impartiality of referee Jared Maxwell in Canberra's 34-6 loss to Melbourne at olympic Park on Saturday night. Now a group of Raiders fans are raising money to help the club pay the fine and already more than $1000 has been pledged after just one day of the campaign.
Elsewhere, Knights coach Brian Smith admits Newcastle's NRL finals hopes may hinge on whether they can manufacture an upset over the New Zealand Warriors in Auckland on Saturday.
The injury-depleted club travel across the ditch on Thursday to prepare for the season defining clash with the in-form Warriors, Smith knowing a loss would severely dent any chance of his side climbing the ladder in time for the playoffs.
The Knights are currently 11th and only one win outside of the top eight but have a horrendous for and against record which could cost them dearly if they finish level on points with any opponent.
NSW State of Origin forward Steve Simpson has been recalled from a knee injury while prop Adam Woolnough should also return from a virus which has now claimed Reegan Tanner, who is highly doubtful of playing.
Moving onto contract news, and South Sydney have re-signed forward Luke Stuart until the end of the 2008 NRL season.
Stuart, 30, has played 113 NRL games for the Rabbitohs and was the first player to record 100 first grade games for the club since reinstatement to the NRL. Stuart says he is looking forward to being part of the club's charge to this year's finals and the future rise of South Sydney.
Up north, Gold Coast boss Michael Searle says Chris Walker has six weeks to prove he deserves to be re-signed by the club.
Coach John Cartwright has placed his faith in Walker, naming the controversial 27-year-old at fullback for Saturday's crunch match against South Sydney at Telstra Stadium. Walker came close to being sacked from the club following an alcohol-related incident at a Surfers Paradise nightclub in April.
He returned to first grade against the Bulldogs last weekend but Searle says Walker has until the end of the regular season to convince Titans officials he merits an extension to his current one-year deal.
Still with the Gold Coast, and officials believe they have built a strong case to exonerate Ian Donnelly and Nathan Friend at the judiciary tonight.
Prop Donnelly has pleaded not guilty to a contrary conduct charge for an alleged grapple tackle on Bulldogs forward Nick Kouparitsas in the Titans' 36-12 loss at Carrara on Friday night. Hooker Friend entered an early guilty plea on a grade three careless high tackle offence but will contest the severity of the grading.
Both players will miss Saturday night's vital clash with South Sydney at Telstra Stadium if they lose their respective fights at the judiciary. In an encouraging sign for the Titans all six players appearing at the judiciary this year have been successful in seeking a downgraded charge or escaping punishment.