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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Local junior to debut as Raiders prepare for Bunnies

Twenty-year-old Harley Smith-Shields will become Raider number 367 against the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Saturday night, 25 July at GIO Stadium Canberra.

Smith-Shields has been named on the bench after Michael Oldfield injured his hamstring in the Raiders’ 24-20 win over the Roosters last Thursday night, 16 July and will be the third Raiders debutant in as many weeks.

A local Gungahlin Bulls junior who has plenty of talent, Smith-Shields can play either at centre or on the wing and was elevated into the Raiders top 30 squad just this year.

Oldfield’s injury means last week’s debutant Semi Valemei has been named to start on the wing with Jordan Rapana shifting to the vacated centre position. Those two played in the same positions in the second half of last week’s game when Oldfield went off the field.

Those are the only changes for the Raiders at the moment but in some exciting news, John Bateman has been named on the reserves which leaves the door open for an unlikely late inclusion.

Bateman has battled a shoulder injury all season and has yet to line up for the Raiders in 2020, which will be his final year at the club before he returns to England to play for Wigan in the Super League.

Bateman was outstanding last season and despite the criticism he has copped for his move away from the club, he will be a huge inclusion for the Raiders when he makes his return.

Their opponents, the Rabbitohs, have been dealt two cruel injury blows with James Roberts and Ethan Lowe succumbing to potentially season-ending injuries.

Roberts has been replaced in the centres by a returning Campbell Graham while Lowe has been replaced by Jack Johns who will make his first-grade debut.

Johns is the son of former Newcastle Knights five-eighth and current Fox Sports funny man Matthew Johns. As such, there are bound to be plenty of eyeballs on the 22-year-old when he runs out in first grade for the first time.

Full teams:

Raiders Rabbitohs 
1Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad1Alex Johnston
2Nick Cotric2Corey Allan
3Jarrod Croker3Campbell Graham
4Jordan Rapana4Dane Gagai
5Semi Valemei5Jaxson Paulo
6Jack Wighton6Cody Walker
7George Williams7Adam Reynolds
8Josh Papalii8Tevita Tatola
9Siliva Havili9Damien Cook
10Dunamis Lui10Thomas Burgess
11Hudson Young11Jaydn Su’A
12Elliott Whitehead12Bayley Sironen
13Kai O’Donnell13Cameron Murray
 Bench Bench
14Tom Starling14Mark Nicholls
15Joe Tapine15Hame Sele
16Ryan Sutton16Patrick Mago
17Harley Smith-Shields17Jack Johns
 Reserves Reserves
18Sam Williams18Kurt Dillon
19Darby Medlyn19Keaon Koloamatangi
20Matt Frawley20Troy Dargan
21John Bateman21Steven Marsters

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