Raiders hope NZ trip refreshes troops

Canberra hope a trip across the Tasman will help galvanise the squad as they aim to bounce back from two last-gasp NRL losses.

The Raiders travel to New Zealand on Tuesday ahead of their clash with the Warriors in New Plymouth on Saturday.

Prop Jeff Lima will join them and is a chance of returning from a broken hand, with hooker Josh Hodgson also making the trip after getting married late last week.

Forward Sia Soliola, however, won’t be on the plane – despite being cleared to play six weeks after breaking his arm, his wife is due to give birth to their second child this week.

A question mark also remains next to Shaun Fensom even though scans cleared him of any major shoulder damage.

Canberra are looking to get their season back on track after last week’s 16-12 defeat in golden point to St George Illawarra 16-12 in golden point last Thursday and their previous last-minute 19-18 loss to Penrith.

“We’re definitely looking to bounce back after a couple of losses,” five-eighth Aidan Sezer said on Monday.

“It will be good to get away and have a week under our belts in a new environment.

“Hopefully we can come back with two points.”

The Raiders have a woeful recent record against the Warriors, losing their past five matches in which they scored just 60 points to their rivals’ 206.

Junior Kiwi Joseph Tapine hopes that run doesn’t continue in front of his family.

The young forward turned down offers to play under-20s in New Zealand to chase his NRL dream in Australia, beginning with Newcastle in 2014 and the Raiders this season.

He was scouted by the Raiders’ recruitment manager Peter Mulholland, who at the time was at the Knights.

“Leaving mum and all the family, it was hard at 18 to move over by myself but I looked at the long run and I wanted to come over here,” he said.

“I’m excited to go back home.

“My family have got no shame, they’ll be there in the green and I’m just looking forward to seeing them.

“I think they’re getting a couple of cars (to the game), and some are coming down from Auckland – they’re coming from everywhere.”

The Raiders are expecting a very physical encounter against a Warriors outfit stung their 30-18 loss to the Panthers.

“We worked on some wrestle and that physical stuff this morning, because they’re always a physical team and we’ve got to be ready for that,” added Tapine.

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