Lee Gaskin April 15, 2012
HALFBACK Josh McCrone is confident the Canberra Raiders can survive without attacking linchpin Terry Campese as he resumes his partnership with young gun Sam Williams.
McCrone is likely to shift to five-eighth to accommodate the return of Williams, the 21-year-old who played 18 games in his rookie season last year.
''We learnt a lot of lessons last year,'' McCrone said. ''Sammy Williams has been playing good if it comes to that. We've just got to believe that we can do it.''
Raiders coach David Furner was an interested onlooker as Williams turned out for the club's feeder club Mounties in the NSW Cup yesterday.
Williams has been on standby for the Raiders for the past two weeks, flying to Brisbane on Thursday before grabbing another flight to Sydney yesterday.
McCrone admitted the Raiders were caught off guard when Campese was carried from the field in the first half of Friday night's 30-6 loss to the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.
''It was a bit of a shock for us for Campo to go off,'' McCrone said. ''A few boys had to stand up and we didn't stand up.
''We needed 16 players to play their best footy and we didn't have that. Every bloke missed their assignment.''
McCrone admitted Campese's leadership would be hard to replace but believed the Raiders had the depth to get the job done while he was on the sidelines.
''He's been a calming influence for us out there,'' McCrone said. ''He adds a lot of confidence for the team, even if he's not doing too much with the ball.
''I think we're a good enough team to bounce back and we've got a big job against Cronulla in a fortnight.''