Josh McCrone has earned himself a NRL recall and will line up at halfback on Sunday for Canberra’s clash with Penrith.
McCrone has spent most of the season playing in the NSW Cup but, after a man-of-the-match performance at the weekend, has been named at No.7 to replace Sam Williams who is out with a pectoral injury.
He will become the fourth halfback the Raiders have used this season, after Williams, Mitch Cornish and Jack Wighton.
Wighton filled the void in Saturday’s 21-20 loss to Cronulla, but will shift back to his preferred position at fullback this weekend at Pepper Stadium.
Sisa Waqa, who took over as custodian against the Sharks, has been ruled out for up to two weeks with a minor knee injury.
Recruit Joseph Leilua will again start in the centres.
Wighton earlier on Tuesday admitted coach Ricky Stuart’s decision to play him at halfback last start came as a shock and wasn’t exactly a roaring success.
But teammate Jarrad Kennedy didn’t feel the backline reshuffle was to blame for their defeat, which had put a dent in their hopes for a top-eight finish.
“The blokes that got reshuffled have played there before,” said Kennedy.
“We trained like that all week.
“I don’t think that was the problem – it was just turning up on the day. We needed to have a better attitude and put together another 80-minute performance.”
The Raiders sit equal with the Panthers on 18 points, but Canberra are two spots higher at 10th on the ladder with a better points differential.
Penrith were smashed 52-10 by Melbourne last Friday and Wighton is predicting a fiery contest this weekend.
“The Panthers down there at their home ground is very tough,” he said.
“We’re both coming off losses so it’s going to be a great game, I think.”