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I need to step up without Austin: Hodgson

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 28/08/2016 James MacSmith

Star hooker Josh Hodgson knows he has to step up for Canberra in the absence of Blake Austin.

Hodgson helped steer the Raiders to a 44-30 win over Manly on Saturday in their first match since Austin suffered a potentially season-ending hand injury at training.

The Raiders are in with a chance of claiming a top-two finish but many pundits have written them off as a title threat without star pivot Austin.

Hodgson is confident he can fill the void.

"I do need to be more vocal than I would be and get us to the right points on the ground a bit more," he told AAP.

"But attacking-wise I thought Sammy (replacement half Sam Williams) fitted in really well.

"He got us around the field well, he talked well, kicked well and just did his job which is massive thing we need from Sammy when we lose someone like Austo."

Star Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic scored three tries on Canberra's left side where Austin traditionally defends alongside centre Joey Leilua and winger Jordan Rapana.

Hodgson conceded the Raiders need to work on their defence in that area.

"We had a couple of lapses on the right edge, that will get better with them all fitting in there, BJ (Leilua) and Rapa," Hodgson said.

"That is something we will work on but I am sure we can get it right.

"Sammy knows we have every confidence in him."

Canberra face Wests Tigers in the final match of the regular season at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday.

If Cronulla lose to Melbourne the night before, Canberra can claim a top two finish with a win.

If Gold Coast lost to North Queensland the night before, the Tigers can earn eighth spot with a win.

"We know they will come out looking to throw the ball around at home, that is how they play and we will be looking forward to the challenge," Hodgson said.

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