Raiders flyer hopes first win helps season take off

Canberra Raiders winger Jordan Rapana is hoping their NRL season will take off following their big win over Wests Tigers, but if their sloppiness continues against the Brisbane Broncos it will prove costly.

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart made only one change for the game at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night, with forward Joe Tapine coming into the 21 at the expense of Jeff Lima.

Tapine comes in just two weeks after he underwent surgery on a broken finger he suffered against the North Queensland Cowboys in round one.

He was initially expected to be sidelined for four-five weeks.

Stuart named an unchanged 17, keeping Dave Taylor on the bench after he made his Green Machine debut against the Tigers.

The Raiders coach will face a selection headache when Tapine returns to full fitness, given not only Taylor's potential but the impact both Sia Soliola and Clay Priest provided off the bench in the 40-point thrashing of Wests on Sunday.

Canberra faces a short turnaround against the Broncos - five days compared with the eight Brisbane gets - and they'll have an easy week on the track before flying up after Thursday morning's training.

After opening with two losses, the Raiders finally clicked into gear in the second half to flog the Tigers - who sacked coach Jason Taylor in the aftermath.

Rapana, who scored two tries and set up another two, hoped it was the start of a return to the 2016 form that took the Green Machine to a preliminary final.

"It's still early on in the season and we were able to click [on Sunday]. I'm hoping that it's going to take off from here and we're going to be better next week," he said.

"They're a quality team [the Broncos]. If we hand over the ball as much as we did against the Tigers when we're playing teams like the Broncos or Sharks, quality teams, it's definitely going to cost us so we've got to be better in that area."

The Broncos also have a settled line-up going into the game, with coach Wayne Bennett making just one change to the 17 that narrowly lost to the Melbourne Storm in round three.

Former Raider Tevita Pangai junior missed that game with an ankle injury, but will come in at the expense of Benji Marshall.

Marshall was named as 18th man for what will be Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough's 200th NRL appearance for the club.

Raiders second-rower Josh Papalii agreed with Rapana that the Green Machine was scrappy despite their win.

But he hoped they were starting to find their feet following their 46-6 win over Wests.

Papalii agreed with Stuart's assessment the Raiders needed to start getting some consistency into their performances.

"We were still pretty scrappy on the weekend. Obviously the 46 looked alright on the scoreboard, but there was definitely a lot of areas and a bit of rust chucking the ball as well," he said.

"I think everyone's just waiting for that 2016 form to just slide back into this year, but it's a different season.

"I think we're well marked as a team now and Ricky's not wrong in saying we need consistency back. I thought we had a real slow start to the season, I don't know why.

"I thought playing just the one trial was enough and I think the boys are starting to find their feet now. Hopefully we started it with that win."


Friday: Canberra Raiders v Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium, 8.05pm. Live on Fox League and Channel Nine.

Raiders squad: 1. Jack Wighton, 2. Nick Cotric, 3. Jarrod Croker (c), 4. Joey Leilua, 5. Jordan Rapana, 6. Blake Austin, 7. Aidan Sezer, 8. Junior Paulo, 9. Josh Hodgson, 10. Shannon Boyd, 11. Josh Papalii, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Luke Bateman. Interchange: 14. Adam Clydsdale, 15. Sia Soliola, 16. Clay Priest, 17. Dave Taylor. Reserves: 18. Jordan Turner, 19. Scott Sorensen, 20. Dunamis Lui, 22. Joe Tapine.

Broncos squad: 1. Darius Boyd (c), 2. Corey Oates, 3. James Roberts, 4. Tautau Moga, 5. Jordan Kahu, 6. Anthony Milford, 7. Ben Hunt, 8. Korbin Sims, 9. Andrew McCullough, 10. Adam Blair, 11. Sam Thaiday, 12. Matt Gillett, 13. Josh McGuire. Interchange: 14. Alex Glenn, 15. Tevita Pangai, 16. Herman Ese'ese, 17. Jai Arrow. Reserves: Benji Marshall, George Fai, David Mead, Jonus Pearson.

The story Raiders flyer hopes first win helps season take off first appeared on Brisbane Times.

Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide