Reformed Dog Garvey ready to step up

Canterbury captain James Graham says hooker Craig Garvey is ready make the most of his second chance with Michael Lichaa facing an extended stint on the NRL sidelines.

With first-choice dummy-half Lichaa out for up to three months with a torn meniscus in his knee that could mean him missing the rest of the season, Garvey will have an extended run in the Dogs’ No.9 jumper.

The former St George Illawarra rake almost threw his NRL career away in 2014 when he was convicted of assaulting a man at an Illawarra pub.

But he worked hard to prove he was ready for another chance at the top level, signing a two-year with the Bulldogs in the off-season to play second fiddle to Lichaa.

Now Garvey finds himself as coach Des Hasler’s go-to man at hooker.

Having played 10 first-grade games during his three years at the Dragons, he is relatively untested at NRL level.

Noted for his speed out of dummy-half, it remains to be seen if he will be used for the full 80 minutes against Penrith on Thursday with the possibility that halves Moses Mbye or Josh Reynolds or versatile back-rower Josh Jackson could spend time at No.9.

“It’s obviously disappointing to lose Michael but we’ve got a lot of faith in Craig Garvey,” Graham said.

“He was unlucky not to find himself on the bench for us last week.

“His conditioning is top notch and we’re really pleased with how he’s performed.

“Des and his staff have got a plan for these things when they’re looking at the year ahead, he’s not naive to think you’re going to have your first-choice 17 on the pitch from rounds one to 26.”

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