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Thursday, January 28, 2021
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Raiders forced into changes for Grand Final rematch

The Canberra Raiders will run out a vastly different side to the one that competed in last year’s decider for their Grand Final rematch with the Roosters at the SCG tomorrow night, Thursday 16 July.

The Raiders have been battling injuries all season and with Josh Hodgson and Bailey Simonsson going down with season-ending injuries last weekend, they have been forced into even more changes.

Siliva Havili has been named in the number 9 jersey to replace Hodgson, while backup hooker Tom Starling has been named on the bench to support Havili in the hooker position.

Simonsson has been replaced in the starting side by Jordan Rapana, while Curtis Scott was initially named on the bench but has since been ruled out with an infected cut on his arm opening the door for another Raiders debut.

The Raiders announced via their twitter that 21-year-old Fijian winger Semi Valemei will replace Scott on the bench and will become Raider number 366 when he runs out tomorrow night.

Valemei becomes the second Raiders debutant in as many weeks after Kai O’Donnell made his debut against the Storm last round.

These changes mean the Raiders will have eight different players to the side that played the Roosters in last year’s Grand Final. Joseph Leilua and Aidan Sezer have both left the club while Hodgson, Simonsson, Sia Soliola, John Bateman, Emre Guler and Corey Horsburgh are all on the Raiders injury list.

The Roosters also have several injuries to their squad with Victor Radley and Sam Verrills out for the season and Daniel Tupou out for an extended period.

Despite those missing, the Roosters welcome back Boyd Cordner, Isaac Liu and Brett Morris from the side that thumped the North Queensland Cowboys 42-16 last week.

Morris is still under an injury cloud, so could be a late out while hooker Jake Friend has been named to start despite suffering a nasty concussion last week.

Despite battling injury issues this season, the Roosters remain premiership favourites in 2020 as they look for their third straight title.

Full teams:

Raiders Roosters 
    
1Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad1James Tedesco
2Nick Cotric2Matt Ikuvalu
3Jarrod Croker3Josh Morris
4Michael Oldfield4Joseph Manu
5Jordan Rapana5Brett Morris
6Jack Wighton6Luke Keary
7George Williams7Kyle Flanagan
8Josh Papalii8Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
9Siliva Havili9Jake Friend
10Dunamis Lui10Siosiua Taukeiaho
11Hudson Young11Boyd Cordner
12Elliott Whitehead12Angus Crichton
13Joe Tapine13Isaac Liu
 Bench Bench
14Tom Starling14Lachlan Lam
15Kai O’Donnell15Sitili Tupouniua
16Ryan Sutton16Mitchell Aubusson
17Semi Valemei17Lindsay Collins
 Reserves Reserves
18Darby Medlyn18Poasa Faamausili
19Sam Williams19Ryan Hall

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