The revolving door of the casualty ward in Canberra continues to spin wildly with the return of Joe Tapine tempered by a broken thumb to Englishman Josh Hodgson.

The Raiders confirmed on Sunday that Hodgson would require surgery on a fractured thumb and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks. 

English hooker Hodgson left GIO Stadium after their six-point loss to the North Queensland Cowboys with a plastic cast on his right hand.

Hodgson's absence was acutely felt in the second half as the Raiders fell to a third consecutive defeat.

After their sizzling start to the season, Canberra faces some serious questions about their premiership credentials with Hodgson joining John Bateman, Joey Leilua and Jordan Rapana on the sidelines.

A despondent Ricky Stuart said he struggled to find any positives of his side's 22-16 loss to the Cowboys, however, the return of Tapine from an ankle injury offered a glimmer of hope.

Tapine hadn't played since round five and revealed that his ankle isn't quite back to 100 per cent and mentally he found it tough to deal with the long lay-off.

"It's footy and I've been in the wars lately but for me personally it's frustrating and depressing sometimes," he said.

"But it's footy, it's a contact sport, it's going to happen but sometimes you question why it's happening.

"It's hard because you're not around the boys as much and you're getting flogged and you just want to be a part of it again.

"It's just a matter of building my game time and my match fitness, I was really starting to blow there at the end."

The Raiders were behind the eight ball from the first 20 minutes against the Cowboys after they gave away the first four penalties of the contest.

"When I was watching the first 20 minutes we were defending a lot and they were getting a lot of penalties and it was tough stage of the game for the boys and it was tough for them to get into it," Tapine said.

"I thought they stuck to it pretty well, we just needed a little change and we didn't get it."

Hodgson's absence will be compounded by the likely loss of Josh Papalii due to State of Origin duty, with Jack Wighton also a chance to be out for next week's game against Canterbury if he earns a Blues debut in the utility role.