OH NO, not again.
That would have been the reaction from Raiders fans when news emerged of Terry Campese's withdrawal from last night's trial against Canterbury with a groin injury.
But Canberra insists their star five-eighth will be right to play in round one, despite sitting out the Raiders' win at Wagga Wagga.
The supporters in green at McDonald's Park, and in the capital, would have had a heart attack when the Raiders ran on without their chief playmaker. But given the 27-year-old's 2011 season was ruined through injury, Canberra were not willing to risk one of their most valuable assets.
Campese later erased any concerns that he might be set for another lengthy lay-off. "If it was round one I definitely would have played; definitely just precautionary,'' Campese said. "After training [on Friday] I was just doing a few little run-throughs, I just pulled up sore and it came back in the warm-up. It's definitely nothing to be worried about.''
Young half Sam Williams came in as a replacement for Campese, and seized his chance by setting up two of Canberra's three tries. Both teams struggled for offensive potency, understandable given Campese's absence and Bulldogs halfback Trent Hodkinson return from a leg injury.
Canberra raced to an early 12-0 lead after capitalising on some Bulldogs' mistakes.
A Josh McCrone high ball was batted back by Josh Dugan, and pounced on by recruit Shaun Berrigan and after the Bulldogs kicked out on the full from the kick-off, Sam Williams put centre Jarrod Croker over with a superb short pass to extend Canberra's lead to 12-0.
But the Bulldogs hit back through tries to Joel Romelo and Josh Morris later in the first half to reduce Canberra's lead to 12-10 at the break.
After being denied tries for a forward pass and offside either side of half-time, the Bulldogs took the lead for the first time when winger Michael Lett crossed out wide.
But it was his opposite number, Reece Robinson, who had the final say with three minutes left, running 40 metres off a Williams cut-out pass to score in the corner and seal a Raiders win.
CANBERRA 16 (J Croker, S Berrigan, R Robinson tries; J Croker, R Robinson goals) bt CANTERBURY 14 (M Lett, B Goodwin, J Morris tries; S Turner goal) at McDonald Park, Wagga Wagga. Referees: T De Las Heras, A Devcich.