It will be a completely different looking Canberra Raiders side for their clash against the Cronulla Sharks on Saturday 26 September at Netsrata Jubilee Stadium with Ricky Stuart deciding to rest a host of big-name players.
In total, 9 of the starting 13 from last week’s victory over the Warriors are out, with Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, George Williams, Jarrod Croker, John Bateman, Jordan Rapana and Josh Papalii all omitted entirely from the 21-man squad, while Joe Tapine, Jack Wighton and Elliott Whitehead have been named on the reserves list.
It’s a surprise move from the fifth-placed Raiders given they are still a chance to sneak into the top four if they win and the Parramatta Eels lose their match to the Wests Tigers. However, the Raiders cannot move down the ladder with a loss.
The mass resting opens the door for a plethora of players that have either had limited opportunities or are playing their first game this season and there will also be three debutants.
Adam Cook, Darby Medlyn and Jarrett Subloo will all make their NRL debuts, while Matt Frawley will play his first game for his home town team.
Cook has been named at fullback in place of Nicoll-Klokstad who will miss just one week with a minor rib injury, while Medlyn and Subloo will make their debuts off the bench.
Harley Smith-Shields and Matt Timoko have been named in the centres for the second games of their young careers, replacing veterans Croker and Rapana.
Semi Valemei and Nick Cotric are the only remaining members of the back line from last week and will take their usual positions on the wing.
Frawley has been named to partner Sam Williams in the halves. It will also be Williams’ first game of the season and he will captain the club for the first time.
Sia Soliola will make his long-awaited return from a serious facial fracture to partner Dunamis Lui in the starting front row.
Hudson Young and Corey Harawira-Naera make up the starting second row, with Siliva Havili shifting to lock and Tom Starling named at hooker.
Kai O’Donnell and Ryan Sutton have been named on the bench alongside Medlyn and Subloo to round out the 17.
Their opponents have also made multiple changes with Shaun Johnson out after rupturing his Achilles, while Josh Dugan, Sione Katoa and Royce Hunt are all out as well.
Wade Graham returns and has been named at five-eighth to partner Connor Tracey in the halves.
|1||William Kennedy||1||Adam Cook|
|2||Nene Macdonald||2||Semi Valemei|
|3||Mawene Hiroti||3||Matthew Timoko|
|4||Jesse Ramien||4||Harley Smith-Shields|
|5||Ronaldo Mulitalo||5||Nick Cotric|
|6||Wade Graham||6||Matt Frawley|
|7||Connor Tracey||7||Sam Williams|
|8||Braden Hamlin-Uele||8||Dunamis Lui|
|9||Blayke Brailey||9||Tom Starling|
|10||Aaron Woods||10||Iosia Soliola|
|11||Briton Nikora||11||Hudson Young|
|12||Siosifa Talakai||12||Corey Harawira-Naera|
|13||Toby Rudolf||13||Siliva Havili|
|14||Scott Sorensen||14||Kai O’Donnell|
|15||Jack Williams||15||Ryan Sutton|
|16||Andrew Fifita||16||Darby Medlyn|
|17||Teig Wilton||17||Jarrett Subloo|
|18||Billy Magoulias||18||Ata Mariota|
|19||Braydon Trindall||19||Joseph Tapine|
|20||Bryson Goodwin||20||Jack Wighton|
|21||Daniel Vasquez||21||Elliott Whitehead|