Canberra have called on Glen Buttriss to fill the void left by influential hooker Josh Hodgson in next Monday’s NRL match against Wests Tigers.
Buttriss was on Tuesday named at No.9 for the clash, with regular rake Hodgson sidelined for up to two weeks with a high ankle sprain suffered in Saturday’s loss to North Queensland.
The 29-year-old was the Raiders’ starting hooker last season, but was dropped following Hodgson’s arrival.
He’s only played three first-grade games in 2015, all off the bench – the last being in round six against Melbourne.
Kurt Baptiste was expected to get the nod ahead of Buttriss, but will continue his impact role as a replacement as he’s done all season.
Meanwhile, Mitch Barnett is in line to make his NRL debut off the bench, after Jarrad Kennedy was elevated to the starting side to replace damaging forward Sia Soliola.
Soliola has been ruled out for the rest of the season after fracturing his cheekbone against the Cowboys.
He will have surgery on the injury on Wednesday.
“He’s an inspirational leader and probably one of the toughest blokes out there on the footy field,” said Kennedy.
“They’re massive shoes to fill.
“But I just want to get out there and do the best I can.”
The Raiders welcome back Sisa Waqa from a knee injury, with the Fijian flyer replacing Edrick Lee who is suspended from the Tigers match at GIO Stadium.
With two key men out and another banned, it marks the 10th-placed Raiders’ first real test after a relatively lucky season with injuries and suspensions.
Kennedy said it was inevitable that teams are down on troops at this stage of the year, but was confident the club would handle it.
“I suppose it was one bad game (against the Cowboys) where we got a few decent injuries, but that’s something we’ll deal with,” he added.