Raiders v Bulldogs Preview
Canberra Raiders v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Sunday, May 24, 4pm
The Raiders and the Bulldogs meet in the first Origin-affected round of the season on Sunday afternoon in Canberra.
While the Green Machine will be completely unaffected by representative selection, following the omission of Josh Papalii from the Maroons team, the Dogs are missing four stars. Josh Morris, Trent Hodkinson, Josh Jackson and David Klemmer have all been called in to Laurie Daley's Blues camp for next Wednesday's Origin One.
Tim Lafai has been named to return from injury in the centres (although he may still be in some doubt) while Chase Stanley will fill the other centre position. Lafai's expected return from injury comes at the perfect time for a Dogs backline that has been stretched almost to breaking point by the absence of Morris.
Moses Mbye, a valuable utility player, moves into the halves to partner Reynolds while Tony Williams is promoted to the starting side. Sam Kasiano and Tim Browne will see game time from the bench, while Des Hasler will select two from Lloyd Perrett, Antonio Kaufusi, Danny Fualalo and Herman Ese'ese to round out the remaining bench spots.
While the Raiders will be disappointed to have missed out on any State of Origin selections, they'll embrace the opportunity to bring an almost full-strength team into this match against a (still) powerful Canterbury-Bankstown team.
They've named the exact same side that went down valiantly to the impressive Dragons last week. Halfback Sam Williams remains on the sidelines with a lung injury (but may be a late inclusion if he passes a fitness test) with Mitch Cornish again named to start. Meanwhile, former rep star David Shillington will be looking for an improved performance after gaining some match fitness in his first game back from injury last week.